Author Spotlight: Katherine Ramsland

December 7, 2018

BY: Kendall Hunt

Katherine Ramsland
Professor of Psychology | DeSales University
Author of Forensic Investigation: Methods from Experts

Please describe your educational background.

I have a Ph.D. in philosophy and master's degrees, respectively, in clinical psychology, forensic psychology and criminal justice. I have been teaching forensic psychology and criminal justice for 18 years.

What are some of the special features and content that make Forensic Investigation: Methods from Experts different from competing books?

This book is a crossover text, in the style of popular science writer Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, Outliers) but also academically rigorous. Each chapter begins and ends with a criminal case applicable to a specific subject area. Each opening case demonstrates an aspect of forensic investigation, such as fingerprints or psychological profiling. Each closing case presents a puzzle on which students can practice critical reasoning. The heart of each chapter incorporates the work of forensic professionals as their expertise is used to illustrate how investigation is a team process, mixing historical precedents with contemporary experts. I blend pace and story with theory and method. One unique feature is a chapter that applies research from cognitive psychology to investigations. Since CJ practitioners write most such books, none has applied issues of observation and problem solving with the psychological depth that I have, and I even include some self-assessment devices.

Describe your experience with Kendall Hunt publishing editors and support staff.

My experience was positive. The book was edited quickly and KH supplied support for getting appropriate photos into the manuscript.

Describe some of your student's and colleague's comments and success in the classroom with the use of this publication.

We have used it in a graduate course on ethics, which worked well, because many of the cases involved issues that invited ethical discussion. The students enjoy the different professional perspectives and the case-based problem solving.

What have you done to make switching to your book easy?

It would be difficult to write a text that could break into the market and compete with those already published unless it offered items that readers want that are currently missing. I believe that narrative drive, brevity, expert voices, and engaging exercises make Forensic Investigation: Methods from Experts stand out. I have interviewed many experts in this field and went to their workspace to describe the expert in action, similar to the way popular culture science authors have done. I have also written crime puzzles for exercises rather than the typical Q&A we see in textbooks.