A will is found next to a dead body. A suicide letter is left at a crime scene. A ransom note is near a kidnapped individual. Questioned document examiners are of utmost importance within the forensic science community to identify perpetrators and provide closure for cases. Handwriting, paper and ink analysis embody areas studied by forensic scientists to determine authorship, reliability and authenticity. Each person is unique and specific features are showcased within an individual’s writing. Since the emergence of letters, people have created, developed and immersed themselves into the community process of writing. Features have advanced from childhood learning styles to adult routines. Minute characteristics are located by questioned document scientists through various techniques, methods and instrumental analysis. Handwriting features, paper inspection and ink examination result in unique quality identification. The Electrostatic Detection Apparatus and Video Spectral Comparator are two of the most widely used machines by questioned document scientists for validity purposes. After conducting tests, examiners are called to court as expert witnesses to testify regarding evidence. Preparatory procedures are followed in addition to both verbal and visual demonstrations of samples. From the crime scene to transportation to the crime laboratory to the courtroom, evidence is distributed with care and standard operating procedures are enacted. Appropriate handling of samples is always required to ensure precision, accuracy and protection of evidence. The most proper collection, analysis and demonstration of samples is essential in assisting the trier of fact, judge and jury, with reaching an ultimate decision.


Handwriting, Paper, Ink, Forensic Science, Questioned Document Examination

Document Type


Year of Completion



Forensic Science


Keri Wyllie

Academic Department

Department of Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics