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Showing posts from June, 2018

When investigations go wrong – in science and policework

We’ve talked about many of the ways police investigations can go wrong, including mistaken eyewitness identifications, memory errors, and false confessions. Often, when people imagine police investigations running afoul, they imagine egregious cases in which police plant evidence or physically torture suspects to get them to produce confessions they know are false. Although situations like that do occur, mistakes in investigations require no intentional wrongdoing. A detective doesn’t need to be trying to get a false confession, for instance, in order to get one (as our guest writer Fabi Alceste has written about). Errors happen often without the investigators realizing anything has gone wrong. Similarly, when people imagine bad scientific research happening, they often imagine scientists fabricating data or committing outright fraud. Scientific fraud is a problem, but it’s quite rare. However, there are many questionable research practices (sometimes shortened to “QRPs”) that can ma…