PHASE V: Handwriting Analysis

How each person learns to hold a pencil, form letters, and space words results in every person developing a unique style of handwriting.  For this reason, handwriting analysis is a tool used by forensic scientists to detect forged documents.

The police often collect handwriting samples, or exemplars, when they believe forgery is involved in a case.  A forensic document examiner is a handwriting expert.  An examiner usually looks at the writing characteristics called traits.  Traits include letter formation, size, and slant.  The expert compares the key points of each trait found in the suspicious document to the exemplars.



Forensic scientists analyze the key points of each handwriting trait when examining written documents.  Some examples of handwriting traits and key points are illustrated in this table:


    •  To practice identifying different handwriting traits, ask 3-5 classmates to write the following sentence on a sheet of paper: 
            Every person has a unique style of handwriting.


    ü  Examine each classmate's handwriting.  Identify at least two traits of each handwriting sample.


    • Now it's time to test your handwriting identification skills...Can you match each pair of handwriting samples in this CSI web adventure?