Bones of the matter: Beddow talks forensics

September 21, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

Melissa Beddow, GCU associate professor of forensic science, examined the content of fictional forensics television shows for her dissertation. She touched on some of her findings during a recent talk at the Arizona Science Center.

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau


Melissa Beddow, Director of the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Grand Canyon University, delved into the effects of television forensics programs recently as part of the Arizona Science Center’s “Science With a Twist” series, which targets adult science aficionados.

Beddow chatted up the audience and answered questions, such as, “How do fictional forensic crime shows, such as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” really compare to what happens at an actual crime lab?

“While a lot of research has been done on … the ‘CSI’ Effect, little has been done to examine the actual content of forensic crime shows, and no research has been done outside of the ‘CSI’ franchise,” said Beddow, who worked for more than seven years in several laboratories, has experience in human diagnostic testing and biotechnology, and has testified as a DNA analysis expert in criminal trials.

The talk was based on the results of her doctoral dissertation, a content analysis of the “Bones” TV series, which focused on the portrayal of DNA testing and analysis.

The theme of the “Science With a Twist” evening was “1987 High School Reunion Gone Bad,” which set up this scene: A murder has rocked a 1980s-themed high school reunion, and attendees investigate the murder room, compare blood splatters, process fingerprints and analyze handwriting. Who could have “dunnit” – the prom queen, the class president or someone else?

Also at the event, GCU adjunct faculty member Tally Violette, who teaches forensics lectures and labs, helped guests process fingerprints and blood-spatter evidence.

Contact Lana Sweeten-Shults at (602) 639-7901 or [email protected].

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