the minimum information that should be included. As part of the accreditation and certification processes, laboratories and forensic scientists should be required to utilize model laboratory reports when summarizing the results of their analyses.

Recommendation 3:

Research is needed to address issues of accuracy, reliability, and validity in the forensic science disciplines. The National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS) should competitively fund peer-reviewed research in the following areas:

  1. Studies establishing the scientific bases demonstrating the validity of forensic methods.

  2. The development and establishment of quantifiable measures of the reliability and accuracy of forensic analyses. Studies of the reliability and accuracy of forensic techniques should reflect actual practice on realisticcase scenarios, averaged across a representative sample of forensic scientists and laboratories. Studies also should establish the limits of reliability and accuracy that analytic methods can be expected to achieve as the conditions of forensic evidence vary. The research by which measures of reliability and accuracy are determined should be peer reviewed and published in respected scientific journals.

  3. The development of quantifiable measures of uncertainty in the conclusions of forensic analyses.

  4. Automated techniques capable of enhancing forensic technologies.

To answer questions regarding the reliability and accuracy of a forensic analysis, the research must distinguish between average performance (achieved across individual practitioners and laboratories) and individual performance (achieved by the specific practitioner and laboratory). Whether or not a forensic procedure is sufficient under the rules of evidence governing criminal and civil litigation raises difficult legal issues that are outside the realm of scientific inquiry.


Recommendation 4:

To improve the scientific bases of forensic science examinations and to maximize independence from or autonomy within the law enforcement community, Congress should authorize and appropri-



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