Forensic geological materials and soil survey

I am Dr. Gwyneth Gordon, an assistant research professor in the School of Earth & Space Exploration at Arizona State University.  I am conducting a research survey to understand the status and needs of the forensic and legal communities with regards to geological materials or soils collection, analysis, and use for investigative or legal purposes. Participants are limited to those employed with law enforcement, legal defense, as a forensic earth materials (including soils) examiner, or with a forensic service provider. I am not surveying students or personnel not involved in soil collection or analysis at this time. You must be 18 or older to participate in this study.

Participation will require about fifteen minutes of your time to answer an online survey about your experience and knowledge of geological forensic evidence.

I am inviting your participation in our study, "A survey of law enforcement, forensic soil analysts, and forensic service providers to determine current status and future needs in forensic analysis of geological materials and soils." You have the right not to answer any question, and to stop participation at any time. To stop participation, simply close the browser window prior to hitting submit at the end of the survey. If you decide you would like your answers deleted after you have submitted them, please contact me at and I will delete them from the survey.

Your participation in this study is voluntary.  If you choose not to participate or to withdraw from the study at any time, there will be no penalty. There will not be any compensation for this study. 

There will be no direct benefit to you as a participant. However, this survey will inform policymakers and researchers about the needs of the forensic community and may lead to improvements in the availability and utility of geological and soil evidence in the future. There are no foreseeable risks to your participation. You may feel some emotional discomfort if you recall particularly troubling or disturbing cases while answering questions.

Your responses are anonymous, unless you choose to share contact information voluntarily. Responses will be secured behind firewalls and password protected. Only personnel who have completed human subjects ethics training and are listed on the approved Institutional Research Board protocol will have access to any personally identifying information. You are not required to disclose any information that identifies you personally. I do ask if I can contact you with follow-up questions, but this is completely optional. 

The results of this study may be used in reports, presentations, or publications but your name will not be used. Results will only be shared in the aggregate form. De-identified data collected as a part of this current study may be shared with others (e.g., policymakers, law enforcement organizations) for future research purposes.

If you have any questions concerning the research study, please contact the research team at If you have any questions about your rights as a subject/participant in this research, or if you feel you have been placed at risk, you can contact the Chair of the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board, through the ASU Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, at (480) 965-6788. Please reference IRB STUDY#00016934.

By clicking “yes” below you are agreeing to be part of the study.

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I have fully read the consent form above, I understand the conditions of this study, and I consent to participate. I also attest that I am over 18 years old. *
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