Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert I. Sundick

Second Advisor

Dr. Shirely Bach

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephen Cohle

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Tal Simmons

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Within the last two decades technological advancement has enabled the forensic sciences to become much more highly complex and has provided the legal system with a specialized means of interpreting scientific evidence. In this regard, the forensic anthropologist has seen an increasing amount of time spent as an expert witness in judicial proceedings. However, expert courtroom testimony requires that a scientific witness be knowledgeable, accredited, and ethical in his representation of the discipline. This thesis studies the state of ethics among Diplomates in the American Board of Forensic Anthropology.

A survey was designed and sent to Diplomates of the A.B.F.A. to uncover both individual, as well as disciplinary standards, as they relate to ethical issues and the level of ethical dialogue among forensic anthropologists. The survey and subsequent research has illustrated that forensic anthropologists generally lack formal education and experience concerning applied ethics and ethical issues. In addition, the field is lacking individual motivation and the critical dialogue needed to both provide guidelines for dealing with ethical issues, and to keep the courts abreast of the capabilities of forensic anthropology.

Included in

Anthropology Commons