Date of Award


Document Type



Political Science

First Advisor

Lindsay Benstead


Expert evidence -- United States, Criminal evidence -- United States, Lawyers -- Attitudes, Paralegals -- Attitudes, Law -- United States -- Psychological aspects, Pseudoscience




Media provides an image of science, as used by law, in an unflattering light. Scientific experts are portrayed as misrepresenting and obscuring the truth of research to support a position at the behest of lawyers and their clients. This research examines the occurrence of “junk science” in courts and relates doctrinal and values theories to explain its presence. An investigation of attitudes towards science is conducted using General Social Survey data to test whether legal professionals hold more negative views towards the scientific community than peers in other fields. The regressions suggest that legal professionals may in fact have more confidence in the scientific community than their peers, but available data is not sufficient to make a statistically significant determination. Discussion of how the study could be improved is conducted to provide a path for future research into the relationship between science and law.


An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in University Honors and Political Science

Persistent Identifier