Willow Dawn Becker
Science is cool. Death is cool. So it just stands to reason that science about death is wicked awesome.
Forensic science and crime scene investigation isn’t just cool, though. It’s a necessary part of bringing criminals to justice. Without forensic scientists, toxicologists, or osteologists, thousands of crimes would go unsolved every year. And, of course, these “after-the-fact” mysteries are magnetic – and shows like CSI, Bones, and NCIS have the ratings to prove it.
But, instead of just watching fiction based on forensic science and crime scene investigation, the internet makes it possible for you to be on the scene of the crime along with the investigator. Here are the best blogs for getting a birds-eye view of what it’s really like to be a crime scene investigator or forensic scientist.
With topics from audio evidence to using ballistics gel, this is an incredibly up-to-date blog about the technology that forensic scientists and crime scene investigators are using right now. It also includes videos about new and experimental forensic technologies, as well as usage laws and evidence collection procedures. Each issue is available online at no charge.
This website is geared towards the beginning student of forensic science, but has enough meat to keep even a seasoned pro interested. The weekly articles discuss topics like How to Estimate the Time of Death and highlights real forensic cases to provide a foundation for further study.
Carla Valentine is a teacher of forensic science, a practicing Anatomical Pathology Technologist (Mortician), and a popular blogger. She was a guest speaker on the Resident Evil 6 Real Crime: Real Fiction panel at the British Museum as well as the Wellcome Forensic Science Exhibition. Her blog boasts content about love, death, dismemberment, and how they all relate to forensic science.
Although this blog hasn’t been updated in a while, it is one of the most comprehensive resources for teaching crime scene investigation fundamentals. Not only does it teach basics like blood spatter patterns, courtroom procedures, and fingerprinting, but it has step-by-step instructions on how to document, process, and record a crime scene.
This website is dedicated to everything digital forensics, from hacking to cybersecurity. Every day, readers can get new information on the digital forensics front – often with headlines pulled straight from top-tier media. This site also touts a large database of research on cyber threats, from international security spending to the most damaging cyber attacks of the year.
Both a website and a podcast, you can get your daily poison dose whenever you need it. Toxicologist Leon Gussow strives to make his blog interesting for both novice and professional with weekly articles that cover overdose, drug interaction, and post-mortem investigation. In addition, the podcast hosts nationally-renowned toxicologists and doctors who talk about the most current drugs and poisons on the market today.
This blog and radio podcast exists at the intersection of forensic science fiction and real-life CSI work. The hosts, D.P. Lyle, M.D. and author Jan Burke, interview people from both the publishing and law enforcement worlds to shed realistic light on crime fiction writing. Guests have included Lisa Mayhew, death investigator for the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and FBI Criminal Profiler Mark Safarik.
Katy Meyers Emery is a PhD student at Michigan State University with a penchant for skeletons. Her blog is a mixture of anthropology, archaeology, and forensic osteology, but she calls herself a mortuary archaeologist. Her provocative blog talks about how she gleans information from the dead – especially cultural and historical information.
Dr. Michael Bowers is a dentist and forensic consultant in the U.S. and international court systems. His book, “Forensic Testimony: Science, Law, and Expert Advice,” received an Honorable Mention at the Association of American Publishers’ 2015 PROSE Awards. His blog highlights a number of themes relating to forensic science and CSI, include how to give expert forensic testimony as well as how to avoid forensic science malpractice.
Forensic Magazine focuses on three key areas of forensic science: Crime Scene Investigation, Crime Lab Work, and Digital Forensics. The blog is updated on all three fronts five times a week, using stories ripped from the headlines to highlight current practices and issues in forensic science and CSI.
For those who are interested in forensic science and CSI careers, this is a great place to start. This blog offers a list of commonly asked questions to give the basic information needed to decide whether a CSI job is right for you. Some of the questions it answers is what the specific job duties are, how much a CSI investigator makes, and the difference between a CSI investigator and criminologist.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, this website serves as a way for students to learn in-depth information about a variety of CSI topics. Choose from mini-sites about things like footprinting, toxicology, documentation, or DNA testing. You can also download articles directly to a e-Reader for further study.
Although this site seems geared towards a younger crowd, it’s interactive gaming style masks advanced techniques for solving forensic science problems. You can choose from five different CSI cases based on the popular TV show, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced. It also has a great list of forensic science resources sorted by category.
This online peer-reviewed journal offers up-to-date articles about forensic science and investigations from a professional perspective. The editorial staff is comprised of well-known forensic scientists from universities across the country, as well as state departments of Criminal Investigation. Each issue is free and reflects the most recent events and investigations in the U.S.
There is a lot of disinformation about this unique forensic science profession, which is why Lisa Bailey continues to dispel the rumors. The blog discusses relevant topics to forensic artists, such as techniques, technology, and tools. She also does interviews with prominent forensic artists to talk about how they became a part of the profession and what their work is like.
Although SIRCHIE is primarily a distributor for criminal investigation and forensic science products and supplies, their blog highlights some of the most cutting-edge technology and news in the industry. The blog, which gathers information from across the internet, compiles forensic examination news, historical forensic cases, and interactive elements like webinars and podcasts.
17. Strange Remains
Dolly Stolze is the mastermind behind this magnificently morbid blog. In addition to news about art, anatomy, and archaeology, Stolze has an entire section on Forensic Anthropology. These articles highlight news and investigations involving cold cases and long-dead victims whose cases were solved through Forensic Anthropology. It’s funny, dark, and very, very interesting.
This UK website was designed to give high school and college students a first taste of forensic science and crime scene investigation. Their weekly blog posts cover everything from CSI college programs to recent forensic science research. They also have a number of great resource articles with links to forensic science blog posts, blogs, and historical crime investigations.
Kristina Killgrove is a bioarchaeologist and professor at the University of West Florida. Her blog is all about bones – specifically how they can be used to solve crimes. In addition to her incredible articles about archaeology, osteology, and forensic science, she systematically picks apart the CSI crime drama Bones and reveals how a true osteologist would solve each episode.
From Molly to Krokodil, the unknown ForensicToxGuy knows it all. This blog, run by an unknown forensic toxicologist and “drug chemist,” highlights the most dangerous and deadly chemicals known to man. In addition to interesting articles about chemistry, drug interaction, and general forensic toxicology, he also posts job openings for students interested in toxicology.
Coursework online. Capstone on-campus.
Online Master's in Forensic Studies
Campus-based. Some courses online.
Master's in Forensic Science
Willow Dawn Becker
Willow is a blogger, parent, former educator and regular contributor to ForensicsColleges.com. When she's not writing about forensic science, you'll find her blogging about education online, or enjoying the beauty of Oregon.
Barry is Managing Editor of ForensicsColleges.com, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, which he co-founded. Barry was previously VP for a financial software company, and currently sits on the board of a K-8 school and lives with his wife and daughters in the San Francisco Bay Area.