Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Forensics: Coursework!

Righty then, with my first week of second year over, I can report the following:
  • Second year topics look SO much more interesting
  • Assessments this year are looking fewer, but larger which, in my opinion, is better!
  • And finally, I am on top of my assignments
The third point I can say only by way of planning so far; the assessments that we've been set already aren't due even drafts for another three weeks, but I've set myself the target of getting a plan or draft down at least a week before each due date, and as such have altered my 'due dates' in my academic diary. Namely, the Forensic Biology 3 assessment essay plan, which we're meant to have in by the beginning of October, I've earmarked for giving a whack at this weekend and getting it in next week. Similarly, the first draft of assessment one for Forensic Biology 2 is meant to be in around the same time, and so I will be attempting to get it in for next week also.

Last year, our miniature dissertation was a 2000 word essay on a subject of our choice, which was then reverted into a 900 word poster, that was then presented to judges and fellow forensic students. This year, we have what they are terming a 'half-dissertation'; 3000 words, to then be condensed into a fifteen minute powerpoint presentation. Admittedly I quite enjoyed the poster aspect of our dissertation last year, and so am also looking forward to this years powerpoint version, but due to my new-found commitment to getting stuff done early, I'm also quite looking forward to the research/essay part of the work.

Basically all we did in the class today was get introduced into the structure of the module; how it spreads across the year, what we need to include in the discussion of our chosen topic, and had a little one-on-one chat each with our new lecturer about what subject we'd like to do, and whether or not it would be viable. Having been told a little earlier on in the class that the subject had to be related to Forensic Biology (who'd have thought that you have to do something about biology in a forensic biology module!?), I grabbed the nearest laptop and had a skim of the sub-fields that Forensic Biology covers, noting those I found of interest.

Forensic Limnology - Unfortunately, I thought that I had stumbled upon a little-known forensic gem when I saw this title over the summer holidays. Little did I know that our biology modules now include a short area on this very thing. Still, the broader subject of Underwater Investigation interest me, not just the matching of diatom counts between a corpse/victim and the body of water it was thought to have come from (diatoms are types of algae).

Fire Investigation relating to Entomology or Anthropology - This wasn't a field I saw online, rather a twist of two specialties together that I thought up myself. Fire Investigation was the subject of my poster presentation and essay last year, and has always interested me, but as you can't repeat the same exact topic as before, I figured throwing something interesting like fire's effect on anthropological investigation or the effect it has on insect's and their relation to an investigation.

Wildlife Forensic Science - A particularly obscure field that caught my eye online, this covers a broad range of investigative areas, from illegal import and export of animal hides, tusks, trophies etc and illicit fisheries. It also includes rogue timber-felling, animal cruelty and the analysis of non-human trace evidence in other crimes. I'm not sure on the viability of using this subject, as I'm not sure how available material is for referencing involving wildlife, but I'll have a root around the internet over the next few days for reference material for all three and come up with some title-questions that I could base my essays on. Organised!

Another happy piece of this hyper-organisation is that I get to comply with my university resolution and add some money to my army fund pot for getting my work in early; Yay! I started reading Aaron Dembski-Bowden's The Emperor's Gift last night, and am already over halfway through - expect a review tomorrow! Suffice to say for now that already I have an urge to collect Grey Knights, and mould a squad around the main characters in his novel.

As the last piece of random information here in todays blog, Katie has been suffering with a super-sore throat and a cold the past few days, and is beginning to recover. Unfortunately for me, I seem to be developing a sore throat myself - hopefully not the precursor to the same as she had!

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