Teaching To Avoid the "CSI Effect". Keeping the Science in Forensic Science 690 Elisa Bergslien Ask the Historian The Origin of Pyrex
Because of the popularity of shows such as CSI and Cold Case there has been a documented increase in student interest in the sciences. This has been a boon to all of the sciences and brought new life into many programs. Along with the positive effects, however, there have also been some serious negative effects. One of these negatives, called the " CSI effect" by many, is that potential jurors have increased—and sometimes wholly unrealistic—expectations of science presented in the courtroom. Unfortunately, the way that forensic science is sometimes presented in the classroom can exacerbate the " CSI effect". In some cases, forensic science gets reduced to the equivalent of a standard laboratory exercise: follow these steps to perform this test, compare the results, match one of your results to "the culprit". The result is that students may also be getting an unrealistic set of expectations about how real forensic science is performed and a very skewed understanding of scientific methodology. Rather than simply catering to a current trend, this re-awakening of interest in science should be seen as an opportunity to advance understanding of the basic principles of science and critical thinking.