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Results from a Black-Box Study for Digital Examiners



Barbara Guttman, Mary T. Laamanen, Craig Russell, James Darnell, Chris Atha


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a black-box study in conjunction with a scientific foundation review documented in NISTIR 8354 – Digital Investigation Techniques: A NIST Scientific Foundation Review (initially released as a draft report for public comments) [1]. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the outcomes of mobile and hard-drive forensic results achieved on mock examinations based on the demographic characteristics of the participants. The demographic data related to an individual's workplace environment, education, and work experience. This study was open to anyone in the public or private sectors who work in the field of digital forensics. This document describes the methodology used in the study and a summary of the results.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8412
Report Number


scientific foundation review, digital forensics, digital examiner, black-box study, computer hard drive examination, mobile device investigation


Guttman, B. , Laamanen, M. , Russell, C. , Darnell, J. and Atha, C. (2022), Results from a Black-Box Study for Digital Examiners, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed July 13, 2024)


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Created February 17, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022