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Thank you for your interest in the DNA Technical Leader Survey.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), is in the process of developing the Human Factors in Forensic DNA Interpretation report, which will be published as the third installment in the Human Factors in Forensic Sciences Expert Working Group Series. The DNA Technical Leader Survey is an important tool to obtain information regarding the current protocols and practices within DNA laboratories from a variety of forensic science service provider types – including publicly funded local, county, state, and federal laboratories, along with private practitioners and consultant groups, or individuals within the U.S. and abroad.

This survey is designed for DNA Technical Leaders (or equivalent) to complete. This is the individual who is responsible for the technical oversight of the DNA laboratory, which may include (but is not limited to) day-to-day quality assurance and accreditation compliance, design and implementation of methods development, verification of analytical instrumentation function, and validation of new technologies. 

If you are the Technical Leader (or equivalent) of a DNA laboratory, please fill out the survey below. Or, if you know a Technical Leader (or equivalent) of a DNA laboratory, please pass this webpage on to them.


Please click here to start the survey

The survey is now live and will close on June 17, 2022 (deadline has been extended). It is open to both U.S. and international agencies. It is to be completed by one person from each DNA laboratory – the Technical Leader (or equivalent).

Frequently Asked Questions about the DNA Technical Leader Survey

What is the purpose of the survey?

The DNA Technical Leader Survey is designed to assess consistency and variability between forensic DNA laboratories with respect to laboratory management, tasks performed, DNA data interpretation, cognitive bias, internal and external training and research, testimony and reporting practices, quality assurance and quality control measures, technology use, and stakeholder engagement opportunities. The results of this survey will inform best practice recommendations for the discipline, aid in the identification of research needs, and assist NIST in its mission to support the forensic science community.

How was the survey developed?

The NIST/NIJ Expert Working Group (EWG) on Human Factors in Forensic DNA Interpretation helped to develop, vet, and refine the initial survey topics and questions. The NIST Usability Team reviewed the questions and provided feedback to improve the survey instrument. This survey was then pretested by several DNA Technical Leaders who provided general and specific feedback on their experience while completing the survey.

What will you do with the results of the survey?

Currently, there are few sources of information in existence focusing on the influence of human factors within the discipline of forensic DNA. This survey will serve as a starting point for gathering such data. Further, the resulting data obtained through this survey will be incorporated into the report produced by the EWG to create recommendations for all activities related to, and impacted by, DNA interpretation.  The survey results will also be used to inform NIST programs. 

How long does it take to complete the survey, and can I stop part way through?

The survey will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. You can stop the survey and continue your responses later, but only if you complete it from the same device that you started it. If you start it on a new device, or if your cache has been cleared, the survey will resume from the beginning. If you do stop the survey, you will need to resume it within two weeks, or your data may be recorded as incomplete. 

What if I am not a DNA Technical Leader but I would like to know more about the survey?

If you would like to know more about the survey but are not eligible to take it, please email nikola.osborne [at] (nikola[dot]osborne[at]nist[dot]gov) for more information.

Created February 18, 2022, Updated May 10, 2022