Purdue Global University W3 A

Week 3: Approaches to Criminal Investigative Analysis

Laureate Education (Producer). (2017j). Realistic goals of criminal investigative analysis [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 10 minutes.

Credit: Provided courtesy of the Laureate International Network of Universities.

Having gathered these facts, Watson, I smoked several pipes over them, trying to separate those which were crucial from others which were merely incidental.
Sherlock Holmes, The Crooked Man

The goal of criminal investigative analysis is to arrive at the most reasonable answer to a given question. How that answer is obtained can vary from looking at a group of individuals with similar characteristics to determine how one individual in the group will act to using past experiences, intuition, and subjective data. Any given conclusion is only as accurate as the process itself. Each conclusion is directly affected by such things as the validity and nature of the information, the approach utilized, and personal/process biases. An understanding of the limitations of the process is as important as understanding the goals of the process.

This week, you analyze the goals and limitations of different investigative approaches and apply those approaches by assisting in a missing person’s case.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze goals and limitations of the criminal investigative analysis process
  • Differentiate clinical from actuarial approaches
  • Apply investigative approaches to a criminal case
  • Recommend strategies for solving a crime using investigative approaches

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Bartol, C. R. & Bartol, A. M. (2010). Criminal & behavioral profiling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Chapter 3, “Scientific Approaches to Crime Scene Profiling” (pp. 57–92)

Turvey, B. E. (2012). Criminal profiling: An introduction to behavioral evidence analysis (4th ed.). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

  • Chapter 4, “The Mental Health Professional’s Contribution to Criminal Profiling” (pp. 101–121)
  • Chapter 5, “An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis” (pp. 121–140)

Alison, L., Goodwill, A., Almond, L., van den Heuvel, C., & Winter, J. (2010). Pragmatic solutions to offender profiling and behavioural investigative advice. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 15(1), 115–132. doi:10.1348/135532509X463347

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2017g). Forensic insights: Introduction to violent crime [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 6 minutes.

Credit: Provided courtesy of the Laureate International Network of Universities.


Discussion: Goals and Limitations of Criminal Investigative Analysis

A criminal investigative analyst must understand the different goals and limitations of the criminal investigative analysis process and its many different approaches. The clinical approach has a different goal than the actuarial approach. Both are beneficial but in different ways. It is the role of the criminal investigative analyst to determine the best approach for each case.

In this Discussion, you compare the clinical to the actuarial approaches to criminal investigative analysis and determine the limitations and biases of each.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review the Learning Resources concerning approaches in criminal investigative analysis.

By Day 3

Post a response to the following:

Explain the goals and limitations of the criminal investigative analysis process. Explain the difference between a clinical and actuarial approach to criminal investigative analysis, providing an example of how and when to use each. Describe some common biases involved in the investigative analysis process.

By Day 5

Respond to at least two of your colleagues with a substantive, interactive discussion that continues through Day 7 by suggesting ways of overcoming the limitations.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 3 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 3 Discussion


Assignment: Investigating a Missing Child

When assisting in a criminal case, a criminal investigative analyst must first determine the primary goal of the investigation and any other sub-goals related to the primary goal. The analyst must look at statistics concerning the crime and all evidence related to the crime. It is only then that the analyst can begin formulating a theory of what happened and who was involved.

In this Assignment, you will play the role of a criminal investigative analyst who has been asked by a local law enforcement agency to assist in locating a missing child. You will recommend strategies for locating the child using clinical and actuarial approaches.

To prepare for the Assignment:

  • Review the Learning Resources
  • Imagine that a child has gone missing and an Amber alert has gone out. Your local law enforcement has asked you for help locating the child and finding the perpetrator.

By Day 7

In a 2- to 3-page paper:

Explain the aspects of this case that would warrant a clinical approach and which would warrant an actuarial approach. Recommend strategies for locating the child using each approach. Justify your rationale using the Learning Resources and other academic or professional sources. You can add fictional information about the case to support your answers.

Complete and submit the Assignment.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK3Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 3 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 3 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK3Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 3 Assignment Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:
Submit your Week 3 Assignment draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7

To submit your Assignment:
Week 3 Assignment


Making Connections

This week, you analyzed the goals and limitations of different investigative approaches and applied those approaches by assisting in a missing child’s case.

Next week, you will be presented with case material that has been organized in a standard format. You will review the materials and begin to summarize your findings. In the Open Forum Discussion, you will discuss aspects of the case and seek clarification of elements of evidence.

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