NS7515: Criminal Investigation


Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.

NS7515: Criminal Investigation

Module Title Criminal Investigation
Module Code NS7515
Module Tutor Jane Monckton-Smith
School School of Natural and Social Sciences
CAT Points 15
Level of Study 7
Brief Description

This module takes a critical and research-informed approach to examining how violent crime, especially homicide, is investigated and represented through the criminal justice system.  It examihes the crucial role of officers attending a crime scene, covering the importance of robust crime-scene management and considering the practical requirements for preserving, collecting and interpreting evidence at the crime scene. The module draws upon case studies to extend study of how forensic narratives are constructed in the process of investigation, how this is reported in the media, and how it might be interpreted for the courts. 

Indicative Syllabus
  1. Categories of crime: contentious definitions of violent crime.
  2. The crime scene: initial response; forensic science at the scene; effective case management.
  3. The significance of awareness of cultural contexts and social diversity in responding to violent crime.
  4. The forensic narrative: how plausible accounts of crime are constructed for the purposes of legal process, and how they are shaped to the requirements of an adversarial legal system.
  5. The influence of entertainment and media accounts of violence on characterisations of offenders and victims,
  6. The module will include practical exercises to demonstrate and review practical skills.
Learning Outcomes


A student passing this module should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate practical aptitude and understanding of good practice in securing, processing and interpreting crime scenes, acting with initiative and within professional guidelines;
  2. Analyse critically the tools and approaches used to secure, process and interpret crime scenes, and judge the strengths, limits and biases of current professional practice;
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of cultural and social contexts to interpreting crime, and assess the implications for crime investigation, prevention, prosecution and punishment;
  4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the objectives and aims of the criminal justice response to crime and the forensic processes, and the limitations and cultural origins of the forensic narrative.
Learning and Teaching Activities Scheduled Contact Hours: 24
Independent Learning Hours: 126
Assessment (For further details see the Module Guide) 001: 100% Coursework: Individual, portfolio: 4000 words or equivalent
Special Assessment Requirements None
Indicative Resources The current reading list can be found in the Module Guide, which your lecturer should make available via Moodle.

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