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Fingerprint Sourcebook - Chapter 14: Scientific Research Supporting the Foundations of Friction Ridge Examinations

NCJ Number
Date Published
31 pages

This chapter reviews scientific research topics related to the issue of friction ridge skin science.


This chapter examines scientific research, defined as a scientific inquiry into a subject or phenomenon. The two most basic laws that exist within the discipline of friction ridge science are examined and explained in the nature of scientific inquiry. Other topics examined are scientific laws and theories, laws and theories in friction ridge examination hypothesis testing, and comparison methodology and theory. The next topic, scientific research related to friction ridge examination, discusses the unique persistence of friction ridge skin, empirical observations and evidence, the theory of the formation of friction ridge skin, and fingerprint individuality models based on probability and statistics. Next, persistence of first- and second-level detail, persistence of third-level detail and creases, and theory supporting persistency of friction ridge skin are examined. An overview of comparison methodologies, research pertaining to fingerprint comparison methodology, error rate studies, and studies of bias during comparisons are reviewed next. Finally future directions for research related to friction ridge examinations are investigated, including United States Government-sponsored research available for accepted grant applicants, and recommended topics for future research. Tables, figures, and references

Date Published: January 1, 2011