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Questioned Documents

Members of the Questioned Documents Section objectively examine and evaluate documents in order to provide information regarding their source or authenticity. This includes the forensic examination of handwriting, typewriting, office machine impressions, inks, papers, obliterations, and the recovery of latent handwriting indentations.

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My membership in the Questioned Documents section has not only allowed me to obtain excellent training, but it has also introduced me to document examiners from all over the world.

- Karen J. Nobles MFS
Fellow

Hear from a Document Examiner

Individuals applying for membership in the Questioned Documents Section shall have the scientific, technical, skill and experience to be engaged in the examination of Questioned Documents.  This can include: Physics of Light Pertinent to Forensic Document Examination Procedures, Typewriter Examination Devices, Physical Properties and Matches of Paper, Writing Instruments and Inks, Handwriting, Alterations, Obliterations and Erasures of Documents, Printing Processes, Computer Printers, Photocopiers and Facsimiles.

SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Entry Level Categories

Apply

Student Affiliate

Academy Requirements

Enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program that would support a forensic science career.

Section Requirements

AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled.

Trainee Affiliate

Academy Requirements

  1. Completed the educational requirements, but not the experience requirements for Associate Member
  2. Must be actively working toward completion of the experience requirements through training program/employment that supports a forensic science career 

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled, and
  2. In addition to annual eligibility certification, a Trainee Affiliate may not continue in this status for more than four (4) years before either applying for Associate Member or reapplying for Trainee Affiliate status. Justification for reapplication will be contingent upon acceptance by the section Executive Committee. If an applicant has not begun a Questioned Documents training program, but their employer supports one and the applicant has been accepted to begin one, the employer must provide specifics on when the program will begin and information on the credentials of the principal trainer.
  3. Submit one (1) letter of reference. Reference must be a full Member or Fellow of the Questioned Documents Section of the AAFS and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant's training program. Exceptions to this requirement may be considered for applicants residing outside of the United States and Canada, in which cases, the reference may be from one person other than a Member or Fellow of the Academy. This reference will be evaluated and will be accepted if approved by a majority vote of the members present at an annual business meeting of the section. Since the AAFS Board of Directors approval occurs before the section business meetings, those seeking a waiver of requirements will be delayed approval of the application for one (1) year.

Associate Member

Academy Requirements

  1. Actively engaged in the field of forensic sciences and has made a significant contribution to the cause of advancing forensic science
  2. Earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a U.S. college/university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies
  3. Has earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a non-U.S. college or university bearing equivalent accreditation

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled; and
  2. Must have an earned baccalaureate or higher academic degree from an accredited college or university; and
  3. Have successfully completed and documented formalized training in the field of questioned document examination for at least two (2) years duration from a recognized questioned document laboratory or under the direct supervision of document examiners who are Members or Fellows of the Questioned Documents Section of the Academy, or a voting member of ASQDE, or who are Diplomates of the ABFDE (the section recognizes ASTM 2388-11 and the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination ((SWGDOC Standard for Minimum Training Requirements for Forensic Document Examiners)) as the basic guides for fundamental training in the field); and
  4. Be actively engaged or employed full-time in the examination of questioned documents for at least two (2) years, independent of any program of training, and for that period must be personally responsible for conducting and reporting such examinations without technical supervision; and
  5. Two (2) letters of reference. References must be full Members or Fellows of the Questioned Documents Section of the AAFS and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant's qualifications. Exceptions to this requirement may be considered for applicants residing outside of the United States and Canada, in which cases, one or both references may be from persons other than Members or Fellows of the Academy. These references will be evaluated and will be accepted if approved by a majority vote of the members present at an annual business meeting of the section. Since the AAFS Board of Directors approval occurs before the section business meetings, those seeking a waiver of requirements will be delayed approval of the application for one (1) year.
SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Promotion Categories

Apply
WHILE SERVING AS AN ASSOCIATE MEMBER

To Member

Academy Requirements

  1. Attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program
  2. Performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities
  3. Contributions made to the AAFS or latest advancement as service to forensic science research
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training acquired throughout his/her career

Section Requirements

While serving as an Associate Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Register and attend a minimum of two (2) annual meetings of the Questioned Documents Section of the AAFS. The meeting at which the title of Associate Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the meeting at which the title of Member is being considered shall not be counted; and
  3. Present at least one (1) technical paper or participate in the scientific program of the Questioned Documents Section. Participation may include serving as a moderator or panelist at an AAFS annual meeting, publication in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, or participation on a working committee within the Questioned Documents Section.

References not required.

WHILE SERVING AS A MEMBER

To Fellow

Academy Requirements 

  1. Attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program
  2. Performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities
  3. Contributions made to the AAFS or latest advancement as service to forensic science research
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training acquired throughout his/her career

Section Requirements

While serving as a Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Register and attend a minimum of two (2) annual meetings of the Questioned Documents Section of the AAFS. The meeting at which the title of Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the meeting at which the title of Fellow is being considered shall not be counted; and
  3. While serving as an Associate Member or Member, present at least one (1) technical paper that is accepted for publication by the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Journal of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, IAI Journal, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, Forensic Science International, or Science & Justice.

References not required.