The Good Detective Thinks Scientifically


Scientific Thinking Applied to the Good Detective
Collecting objective evidence and making verifiable statements

Looks for objective evidence.

Works to separate fact from opinion ("what do we know versus what do we suspect?")

Knows that  "what can I objectively verify?" is more important than "what do I feel?"



Testing rather than proving hypotheses


Looks for evidence that would clear the suspect rather than just looking for evidence that implicates the suspect.

Considers multiple suspects (e.g., "Everyone is a suspect.").

Skeptical: Looks for alternative explanations  

Skeptical of people: Knows that people lie, so doesn't take witness and suspect statements at face value.

Skeptical of evidence: Knows that evidence can be misleading (especially because it may be planted). Thinks about other ways of interpreting the clues (e.g., is the murder suspect lying or acting suspiciously not because he is the murderer but because he is guilty of some other crime?).

Questions everything.

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