Appropriate Education Alters Perceptions of Forensic Science and Guides Career Selection
AbstractTelevision crime series, i.e. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, affect public perceptions of forensic science. The unrealistic view portrayed by these types of television shows, often known as the “CSI Effect”, and has led misperceptions of the science in the general public, jury and even the legal system, but it has also led to an explosion of students enrolling in forensic science degree programs. Current literature regarding the “CSI Effect” primarily focuses on juror and the legal community and there are very few articles discussing the effects of these TV shows on the misperceptions of students pursuing this career field. Many students enter these degree programs with misconceptions about the field and the necessary education requirements to qualify for a forensic science position. This study used quantitative and qualitative data about an undergraduate class to demonstrate how critical entry level courses are in dispelling students’ misconceptions about forensic science and guide their career paths. This paper presents the activities that accurately adjusts perceptions of the field and how these changes manifest in changes in career interest, official changes in academic degrees, etc. After taking this course, the number of students that stated they were affected by the “CSI Effect” went from 28% to 50%. Additionally, nearly 10% of students changed their degrees from forensic science to another discipline within one year after taking this course, indicating the significance of early education can be for student’s career decision making.