Date of Award

Fall 12-12-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Dina Pinsky

Second Advisor

Dr. Favian Guertin-Martín


My research examines the effects of general education on students’ perspectives of the CSI effect. The CSI effect is a phenomenon in which people’s perceptions of criminal investigation are distorted from the truth because of the media’s portrayal of criminal investigation. The study sample includes undergraduate students enrolled in a Mid-Atlantic University. To quantify the degrees in which subjects are susceptible to the CSI effect, the subjects will be measured on their ability to identify basic forensic investigation flaws portrayed in three different television series. Subjects were given a worksheet, exposed to a fifteen-minute video compilation, and were told to keep a tally of various scientific inaccuracies portrayed in the video. The subjects were tested on identifying a lack of personal protective equipment, unrealistic technology, evidence contamination, unsafe procedures excluding protective equipment, unethical corpse handling, lack of evidence documentation, unrealistically quick analysis, and false scientific information being given as true. Subjects were scored on the accuracy of their worksheet tallies completed during the experiment. The purpose of this research is to determine if there is a significant difference in general forensic knowledge between the undergraduate population, in terms of crime show viewership habits and student year. This could indicate that individuals in upper-class years of a higher education degree program are more proficient at detecting procedural fallacies enforced by the CSI Effect. While other research explores how forensic media impacts public influence on the job duties of forensic scientists, there is minimal research exploring how student education is influenced by the CSI Effect. By conducting this experiment, we can examine if slight differences in education impact knowledge of forensic procedures. This experiment provides future research implications for creating similar experiments, with a focus on specialized education and perceptions within the CSI Effect.