University of Illinois at Chicago
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Communication with Triers of Fact

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posted on 2021-10-06, 21:52 authored by Emily Nakamoto
My research focuses on a forensic scientists’ testimonial verbiage. A single criminal trial can require multiple expert testimonies from different forensic disciplines such as Firearms, Latent Fingerprints, and Questioned Documents. In court, forensic scientists tell the juries about their evidence analysis and then ultimately state a final conclusion. Each forensic discipline endorses testimonial verbiage vetted by their particular consensus standards. For example, Questioned Documents currently abides by conclusion terminology standards developed by the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination (SWGDOC). In contrast, Latent Fingerprints adheres to consensus body standards vetted by their own separate entity. With each discipline using different terminology in court, jurors can easily be confused about the relative importance of the evidence presented. My research project will determine the efficacy and reliability of the current SWGDOC conclusion terms by assessing jury-eligible participant’s opinions based on a series of surveys. This 2’1” x 3’ charcoal drawing, which I rendered in my apartment, represents my research aims and thus was inspired by strained communication between experts and triers of fact. There are forms of communication (e.g. telephone, excess ears, censorship bar) exuding out of the self-portrait to highlight my thesis’ struggle of assessing articulation and reception.


This exhibit competition is organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College and the University Library.


Publisher Statement

Forensic Science; Honorable Mention; Copyright 2019, Emily Nakamoto. Used with permission. For more information, contact the Graduate College at

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