Coffee Break Training: Fire/Arson and Explosion Investigation Curriculum: The Scientific Method Applied to Fire and Explosion Investigation   [open pdf - 209KB]

"NFPA [National Fire Protection Association] 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, defines the scientific method as the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of a hypothesis. Since the adoption of the first edition of NFPA 921 in 1992, the courts have placed more scrutiny and attention on the methodology used by investigators (expert witnesses) to form their opinions concerning the origin and cause of fires and explosions. Basic Methodology, Chapter 4 of NFPA 921, lists the steps of the scientific method as follows: Recognize the need, define the problem, collect the data, analyze the data, develop a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and select a final hypothesis. There are numerous benefits for using the scientific method to examine fire and explosion cases, namely general acceptance of the methodology in the scientific community, use of a uniform, peer-reviewed protocol of practice and improved reliability of testimony from opinions formed using a systematic approach."

Report Number:
Coffee Break Training - Fire Investigation Series No. FI-2013-16
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/
Media Type:
Help with citations