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Evaluation of Peer Review and Verification Processes

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $78,670)

As submitted by the applicant: This project will examine drug chemistry, toxicology, firearms and/or latent prints cases completed at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation-Division of Forensic Sciences in 2015 and 2016 in which the technical or administrative review process determined that some level of correction was required prior to release of the report to criminal justice agencies. These types of review are mandatory for all DNA casework and 100% technical review has become the standard in many forensic laboratories for other disciplines as well. Some accreditation standards require 100% administrative review of the case file and/or report prior to release of reports to end users. The goal of these reviews is to eliminate Type 1 errors, in which the data or conclusion incorrectly associates two samples or incorrectly identifies a substance and minimize Type 2 errors in which the analysis fails to associate samples or identify a substance. Technical and administrative review, also known as peer review, can consume up to 15% of a forensic scientists work schedule. This study will test the hypothesis that conducting 100% technical and administrative review is the most effective approach to minimizing Type 1 and Type 2 errors. During the study, data will be collected and analyzed via statistical methods to determine if there are significant correlations between the various factors in the case and the probability that the case file or report required correction. Examples of the factors to be considered are evidence type, quantity of evidence, and number of repeated or different analyses conducted. If significant correlations are identified, it could lead to improved forensic laboratory practice in which peer review is more focused on cases where the probability of identifying an issue in peer review is higher, thus leading to forensic scientists having opportunity to use their available time to complete additional cases or other essential laboratory functions. Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 13, 2016