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Ashlyn Mumford

Mrs. DeBock
English 4
29 October 2015
Research Question: Does CSI TV shows effect Forensic Science?
Working Thesis Statement: How does CSI related TV shows effect Forensic Science as a career?
Refined Thesis Statement: CSI related TV shows affect the general publics perception of forensic science
including the court system.
Houck, Max M. "CSI: Reality." Scientific American 295.1 (2006): 84. MAS Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
Max Houck debates weather or not there is a CSI Effect when it comes to reality versus
television shows. Houck elaborates that the television shows tend to portray the perfect world of a
forensic scientist. In the past decade, these television shows have become very popular and the argument
is whether or not these programs influence the jurors and their expectations of the judicial system. Max
discusses that this argument has not been fully proven. However, these programs have led to the outburst
of interest in forensic science by the general public. He also shares that the influence of these programs
have led to the pressures of law enforcement feeling the need to collect more data at a crime scene.
Collecting more data has increased the need for more storage and forensic science personnel. However,
Houck feels that one positive effect from these television shows is the influence on college campuses.
Houck states, At his institution, West Virginia University, the forensic and investigative sciences
program has grown from four graduates in 2000 to currently being the third largest major on campus, with
more than 500 students in the program. This article was chosen because it debates the reality of CSI
television shows and the effects on the general public and how they perceive the court system. This article

also discusses the effects of these television show in other areas such as the increase of college students
with a major of forensic science.

Lawson, Tamara F. "The Criminal Litigation Process Is Being Altered by Fear of the CSI Effect."
Forensic Technology. Ed. Sylvia Engdahl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Current
Controversies. Rpt. from "Before the Verdict and Beyond the Verdict: The CSI Infection within
Modern Criminal Jury Trials." Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 41 (2009): 121-173.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
Tamara Lawson shares how the fear of the CSI Effect is changing the way the criminal
litigation process is being handled. Tamara noted that even though the CSI Effect or also known as the
CSI Infection has not been fully proven, the fear of it still has prosecutors changing the way court
proceedings take place. Lawson shares that prosecutors find themselves using the strategy of defensive
prosecution. Lawson explains that defensive prosecution is when the prosecutor may explain to the jurors
why a certain forensic test was not completed or why there may be an absence of a certain piece of
evidence. Lawson deliberates that prosecutors use this strategy to help jurors overcome any reasonable
doubt. Lawson debates that even though the courts have not ruled that the CSI Effect does really exist

they are still very mindful of the impact on the jurors. Lawson feels strongly that the CSI Effect does
not only lower the burden of proof but it could also twist, skew or manipulate the realities of evidence in a
trial. This article will be useful because it provides a persuasive argument of how criminal investigative
television shows like CSI impact the decisions made by jurors and how this influenced the changes in
the criminal litigation process.

Smith, Steven M., Veronica Stinson, and Marc W. Patry. "Fact or Fiction? The Myth and Reality of the
CSI Effect." Court Review 47.1/2 (2011): 4-7. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
The authors of the article, Fact or Fiction? The Myth and Reality of the CSI Effect, dispute that
there is no evidence that the CSI Effect impacts the jury decision making or trial outcomes. The authors
argument is that the increased expectations of forensic science is not just the television crime shows but
the outcome of a cultural change linked more so to technology. The authors term this as the tech effect.
The authors discuss no matter what term is used the jurors demands are still present. They also maintain
that the prosecutors reactions to these demands may be causing more harm than good. The authors feel
numerous questions still surround the CSI Effect therefore more research is needed before any
interventions are implemented. The article is a great reference because it explained the CSI Effect and
provided more detail information on the recent research of the CSI Effect.