Criminal Profiling

The scientific method is a fundamental tool in the realm of criminal investigation. It serves as a pillar for understanding not only the how but also the why behind crimes. This structured approach allows investigators to formulate and verify hypotheses through empirical evidence, ensuring a systematic and rigorous approximation.

Stages of the Scientific Method in Criminal Investigation


The investigation begins with detailed observation of the events and facts related to the crime. This stage is crucial for formulating specific questions that will guide the rest of the investigative process.

Hypothesis Formulation

Based on the observations, researchers develop multiple hypotheses that provide possible explanations for the posed questions. It is essential to consider various perspectives to cover all possibilities.

Experimentation and Evidence Collection

The experimentation phase involves collecting and analyzing evidence to prove or refute the hypotheses. This step is crucial for consolidating or discarding theories related to the crime.

Critical Analysis and Objectivity

Maintaining a critical and objective stance is vital throughout the investigation. This involves meticulously evaluating the quality of the collected information, managing potential biases, and distinguishing between primary and secondary information sources.

Critical Thinking in Criminal Profiling

The process of creating criminal profiles demands a high level of critical thinking. Researchers must:

Meticulous Evidence Evaluation

    Each piece of evidence collected at the crime scene must be critically evaluated, questioning its origin, integrity, and relevance to the case. This includes:

    • Rigorous Forensic Analysis: Applying advanced forensic techniques to ensure that the evidence has not been contaminated or manipulated.
    • Correlation with Psychological Profiles: Comparing the evidence with known psychological characteristics of criminal types to identify matches or discrepancies.

    Bias Recognition

      Recognizing and managing biases is crucial in the development of criminal profiles. This requires:

      • Specialized Training: Ongoing training in recognizing cognitive and cultural biases that may influence data analysis.
      • Peer Review: Implementing a peer review system so that multiple experts can evaluate and validate the created profiles.

      Separation of Opinions and Facts

        Clearly distinguishing between subjective interpretations and objective data is vital for the validity of the profile. Researchers must:

        • Document Sources: All claims must be well-founded and documented, clearly indicating the sources for each piece of information.
        • Avoid Unfounded Assumptions: Refrain from making assumptions based on stereotypes or anecdotal experiences.

        Use of Reliable Sources

          Selecting information sources plays a crucial role in building criminal profiles:

          • Primary Sources: Prioritize information directly obtained from the crime scene or eyewitnesses.
          • Credible Secondary Sources: Use secondary sources, such as police or academic databases, that are validated and recognized in the investigative field.

          Information Synthesis

            Properly integrating data from multiple sources is essential for developing a coherent and substantiated profile. This includes:

            • Interdisciplinarity: Collaborating with professionals from various areas, such as psychology, sociology, and criminology, to gain a broader and more comprehensive view of the criminal.
            • Analytical Models: Using statistical and computational models to identify patterns and trends that may not be evident at first glance.


            Criminal profiling, when supported by the scientific method and a critical and objective approach, becomes a powerful tool in the field of criminal investigation. It is essential that the profiles be accurate, reliable, and free of biases to truly contribute to solving crimes and administering justice.

            Reference: Brent E. Turvey. (2011) Criminal Profiling. An Introduction To Behavioral Evidence Analysis. Fourth Edition. ELSEVIER.