Noblis is conducting a black box study to evaluate the accuracy and reproducibility of conclusions by practicing forensic tire examiners. This study will also assess what impact, if any, such factors as experience and training may have on examiner decisions. Noblis is conducting the study under a grant from the U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
Participants will be asked to examine 40-50 tire impression comparison sets over a period of approximately 5 months. Each comparison set will contain one questioned impression, two full circumference known test impressions, and one full circumference set of known tread images. Where possible, multiple images taken using varying lighting will be included. The test will be conducted entirely in a web-based format using high quality digital imagery. No physical test materials will be provided to participants. Participants are, however, permitted to download and print materials as needed to conduct the examination.
Participation is open to interested United States and international tire evidence examiners, including full and part-time examiners, who have (1) conducted operational casework within the past five years, (2) uses (or have used) a categorical conclusion scale (e.g., SWGTREAD 2013), and (3) are proficient in English.
Participation and results anonymity will be maintained through multiple levels of data anonymization and data segregation. Results will also be coded in a way that will allow participants to see their individual anonymized results after the completion of the study, if they so choose.
The test is expected to be available to participants Fall 2021.