CRIMINAL AND FORENSIC INVESTIGATION: PRACTICE AND APPLICATION - 2024/5

Module code: SOC2098

Module Overview

This second-year module directly builds upon learning from the first year of the programme (in particular, Fundamentals of Forensic Science for Social Sciences and Forensic Criminology) and progresses the student learning journey by introducing students to the processes of criminal and forensic investigation. Specifically, this module situates key crime scene investigation processes at the crime scene and within the wider context of criminal investigation. The particular focus of this module is volume crime, reserving the management and investigation of serious, major, and complex crime for the corresponding module in the final year of the programme.

Module provider

Sociology

Module Leader

HALL Nathan (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 3

Practical/Performance Hours: 4

Guided Learning: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content for this module includes:


  • The historical, social, and legal contexts of criminal investigation

  • Investigative strategies, techniques, and processes

  • The three recognised phases of a criminal investigation - Phase One: Instigation and initial response; Phase Two: Investigation; Phase Three: Case management

  • The governance of criminal investigations


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay (1500 words) 50
Practical based assessment Crime scene investigation and evidence collection and documentation 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have successfully met the learning outcomes of the module.

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Essay (50%): Students will write an essay critically addressing issues relating to non-practical aspects of the module content (i.e. theory, context, strategy, processes, and/or governance).

  • Investigation of, and collection and documentation of evidence from, a simulated crime scene (50%): In small groups, students will form an investigative team, assigning roles as appropriate, to demonstrate the theoretical knowledge and practical investigative skills acquired in this module (supplemented by related knowledge and skills acquired in Level 4 modules) to investigate a simulated crime scene, identify and collect relevant and appropriate evidence, and document the investigative process. Again, clear connections are made to the University’s Curriculum Framework themes (outlines below in ‘Other Information’).(discussions, practical exersices



 

 

Why are we doing this?

The assessment strategy is designed to balance issues relating to theory (via a written essay) and practice (via a practice-based assessment) to provide students with a holistic approach to testing their knowledge and skills in relation to criminal and forensic investigation. It is further designed to allow students to develop and test their knowledge and their skills in a manner that not only enhances their understanding of the topic, but also allows them to situate it within the wider context of the subject area (e.g. how evidence is collected before it is analysed and ultimately presented in court), thereby contributing to the coherency of their learning journey. The assessment strategy also allows for assessment to take place in a supportive context through collaborative work with outcomes that can be applied to assessments in other modules. For example, the information produced during the practical assessment exercise described above can then be further utilised within the Level 5 Semester 2 module, Forensic Evidence and the Law (please see the descriptor for this module for more information). This will enhance the student learning journey and help to bring the investigative and legal issues closer together, thereby allowing students to view the ‘bigger picture’ of how modules, and their content, intrinsically relate to each other. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies will also help to prepare for corresponding modules in Level 6. The assessment strategy is further designed to allow students to test their performance in relation to authentic investigative scenarios, and in the case of the first assessment artefact, to critically engage with the latest academic and professional knowledge in relation to the subject area. All aspects of the assessment strategy further allow students to receive feedback from expert staff.

 

  Formative assessment

Informal formative assessment is conducted throughout the module during seminars and workshops where students have the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities (for example, class discussions and practical and written exercises and tests) and to receive both peer and tutor feedback, with the aim of allowing students to assess their progress week by week.

 

  Feedback

Feedback and feedforward on summative assignments will be provided via SurreyLearn. This will indicate what students did well, less well, and what they need to do to improve in the future and will relate both to issues specific to the module and to transferable skills. Formative feedback will be provided throughout the module within in-class discussions and activities, and tutorials. The overriding aim of both formative and summative assessment and feedback is to support students in developing skills relating to the University’s Curriculum Framework themes (below) by providing constructive and reflective learning opportunities to help students to understand their strengths, and where and how they might improve, both specifically in relation to the module, but also more broadly in the context of their wider degree programme.


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Module aims

  • Introduce students to the principles and processes of criminal and forensic investigation in relation to volume crime
  • Allow students to understand and engage with the theoretical and practical aspects of the three recognised phases of a criminal investigation
  • To further develop resourcefulness and resilience amongst students through engagement with real-world crime simulations
  • Equip students with practical investigative skills that will enhance their employability

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Give a critical account of the theory, practice, and strategy of criminal and forensic investigation in relation to volume crime (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) CK
002 Understand how forensic investigations are situated within wider criminal investigation practices, and differentiate between the tasks undertaken within each (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) KP
003 Explain, justify, and undertake the core tasks associated with each of the three phases of a criminal investigation, and is so doing acquire skills that will be attractive to subject-specific employers (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) KPT
004 Retrieve and document appropriate evidence from a simulated crime scene(s) (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

 


  • Enable students to develop and rehearse knowledge, practical skills, and critical thinking in relation to forensic and criminal investigation.

  • Allow students to work individually and collectively to achieve investigative outcomes that mirror those common in real world criminal and forensic investigation scenarios, thereby building upon knowledge and skills acquired in previous Level 4 modules (as noted in the module overview, above) to enhance and consolidate their individual and collective learning journey.

  • Maximise learning by encouraging students to be actively engaged in decision-making, negotiation, evaluation of information, and the application of theory to practice, to address challenges and solve problems commonly faced by practitioners.



 

Students will learn the principles of criminal and forensic investigation in relation to the process of volume crime. They will learn how forensic investigation ‘fits’ within the wider crime investigation process and examine the role and work of both police and forensic investigators, and how they interact with each other in their attempt to solve criminal cases and achieve successful prosecutions. This will both build upon their learning in previous modules (in particular, Fundamentals of Forensic Science for Social Sciences, Forensic Criminology and Responses to Crime and Deviance) and help to prepare them for later modules (for example, Forensic Evidence and the Law, Policing and the Police, Forensic Chemistry, Major Crime Management and Investigation, and Topics in Forensic Science) thereby ensuring coherency and consistency in the student journey. Furthermore, the learning and teaching strategy is designed to develop students’ confidence and competence in working with others, leadership, teamwork, management and documentation of competing sources of information, critical thinking and reasoning, communication skills, employability, and professionalism. As such, clear connections are made to the University’s Curriculum Framework themes (outlines below in ‘Other Information’).

To achieve this, learning and teaching methods will include lectures, seminars, casework examples, videos, active learning/discussion sessions, and online resources, as well as practical activities in the crime scene space designed to replicate real-world investigative scenarios. Collectively, these methods will combine guided learning, independent learning, and self-reflection. The lectures will introduce and explain key concepts, theories, and core aspects of the practical application of the issues discussed. The seminars will provide students with the opportunity to be active participants in their learning experience by undertaking interactive exercises and group discussions, demonstrating their acquired understanding and knowledge, critical thinking, and communication skills. The learning and teaching strategy will further combine theory and practice with hands-on experience provided through practical sessions utilising the crime scene space and will provide supported preparation for relevant assignments. Students will also be able to integrate their learning from previous modules and carry their learning from this module into future ones, for example those relating to law and the presentation of evidence, major crime investigation, and criminology and psychology, as a deliberate part of a clear learning journey. To build confidence and to engage students with diverse learning backgrounds, students will be encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas, and reflections, including those relating to their own experiences. Ongoing constructive and supportive feedback opportunities from staff and peers (for example through the use of prepared proforma) will be variously present in seminars and tutorials, and online.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2098

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: this module allows students to both understand, and actively participate in, a range of principles and processes used within criminal investigation. Coupled with the development of critical thinking, reasoning, decision-making, collaboration, leadership, and other transferable skills, the module allows students acquire and practice attributes that will be attractive to employers in this field. The focus of the assessment strategy will help to prepare students for the realities of the world of work because it allows them to be familiar with how forensic issues integrated into the wider context of criminal investigation.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The assessment strategy, and indeed the in-class preparation that precedes it, is designed to challenge and stretch student capabilities. It is also one where students are experiencing the roles and perspectives of crime scene investigators and police investigators individually and collectively as a cohort, and latterly in smaller groups for their second assessment. Students will therefore need to develop resourcefulness, be able to share ideas and experiences both individually and collectively, appreciate potential barriers and challenges faced by others, and provide support and show empathy towards each other in working towards achieving successful outcomes and responding to problem-based task requirements.

Digital Capabilities: Students will continue developing their digital capabilities through the use of SurreyLearn, where they will continue to navigate and utilise the VLE for multiple aspects of the module online provision. Students will also utilise Microsoft Teams as a means of communication and collaboration and engage with other online platforms and databases. The second assessment in particular will also require students to collect, collate, share, and document information digitally, thereby introducing them to new digital capabilities that they will likely also encounter later in their learning journey.

Sustainability: This module concerns itself, in considerable part, with the activities undertaken by criminal justice agencies (in particular, the police) and their employees. As such, through the learning, teaching and assessment activities, students will have the opportunity to critically reflect on issues aligned with aspects of Goal 16 of the Sustainable Goals of the United Nations, namely, to provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Aspects of the learning, teaching, and assessment strategy will require students to work collectively. This is intended to help foster a sense of community amongst the cohort from the start of the programme, and to allow students to work together, to reflect, and to share experiences with people from different backgrounds to solve problems and to address new, common challenges. In doing so, students will have the opportunity to broaden their own worldview, perspectives, and to challenge stereotypes, by actively engaging with a broader spectrum of ideas, experiences, and representations held by others, both through facilitated in-class discussions and elements of assessment.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.