chapter  5
48 Pages

Validating Databases

ByJohn S. Buckleton, Jo-Anne Bright, James M. Curran, Duncan Taylor

This chapter is concerned with the issue of validating population databases for forensic work, and discusses the issue of independence testing. The process of validating databases was thrown into a particular light by a case in South Australia. Open publication of data and analysis and the open debate on the conclusions that may be drawn from this data represent a sound scientific approach to alleviating this type of problem. Most laboratories obtain samples for their deoxyribonucleic acid database from volunteers or from offender databases. These are typically separated into races by self-declaration. There are many instances of possible self-declaration bias. The valid question has arisen as to whether the ethnicity of the person of interest plays any part in the determination of weight of evidence. The National Research Council second report in 1996176 stated that the sub-group to which the person of interest belongs is irrelevant.