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The word forensic means relating to the courts of law, public debate or argument. Forensics as a field involves applying the principals of science to law and is used in professions such as law enforcement, nursing and accounting. Forensics is quite complex with several different techniques used.
Forensic anthropology involves work with skeletal remains. Anthropology on its own means studying mankind in both cultural and physical terms. Combining it with forensics means applying these skills in a legal situation. Most people working in the field of forensic anthropology are university professors. They assist with crime-case work in their area when it becomes available. Most will work on a consultant basis for various law-enforcement agencies at the state or federal level.
Forensic entomology involves using insects. A forensic entomologist works with both the living and the dead and can assist in both civil and criminal law cases. Forensic entomologists will work with insects found on decomposing remains. The types of insects found, the amount of damage they have inflicted on the body as well as the amount of time they have been present all help establish a time line and recreate the events of what happened. Forensic entomologists are also used in civil law. They are used as expert witnesses where monetary damages are at stake. A forensic entomologist might, for example, offer their expert opinion on urban insects and their contribution to property damage or investigate incidences of insects found in stored-food products.
Forensic psychology involves applying the principals of psychology to the criminal-justice system. Some common areas of work for a forensic psychologist are establishing a person's competency. Forensic psychologists also try to establish a person's mental state at the time a crime was commited. There are a few universities that offer degree programs specifically in forensic psychology. To prepare for a career in this field, students would typically take courses in psychology and criminal justice. Clinical and social psychology as well as criminal investigative techniques are also helpful.
Forensic accounting involves looking into the financial matters of businesses. Forensic accountants often perform business audits and present their findings in a manner that is suitable for a courtroom setting.
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