Contextual Inquiry in Forensic Investigation

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Description of Activity

The fingerprinting community in the UK is in a period of flux with drivers for change including the requirement for accreditation to the ISO standard 17025 and the National Transforming forensics programme. In order to maximise the value of these changes and identify ongoing requirement, the impact of new quality standards on the fingerprint process and the integral role human factors play in its successful integration must be considered in detail. In other domains a contextual enquiry approach to research is often taken to enable a holistic understanding of an activity. Whilst the forensic science industry is realising the importance of a holistic approach to research, user-centred methods of data collection are seldom documented in practice.

The study presented employed a contextual inquiry approach to examine the process of fingerprint comparison in a UK fingerprint bureau. The findings of the study are presented, describing the fingerprint comparison task from the perspective of the user, including the sequence, flow, artefacts, physical and cultural factors that influence successful integration of change. Key area of success and challenge following ISO implementation are highlighted, and aspects of the process that may benefit from further empirical human factors research in order to improve efficiency and reliability are discussed.
PeriodJun 2019
Event title4th International Conference European Division of International Association for Identification: Decision-making in forensic science: what information is needed, which conclusions are supported.
Event typeWorkshop
LocationWarsaw, PolandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational