Art, Craft and Science of Detective Work

Stephen Tong, Ben Bowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The failure of high-profile criminal investigations and falling detection rates have led to public criticisms of the effectiveness of detective practice. Furthermore, the lack of research on crime investigation and the apparent mystery surrounding what detectives actually do and how they do it, reinforced by fictional representations of detectives guided by ‘instinct’, leaves a distinct lack of transparency. This article presents a typology of logics guiding detective work (the art, craft and science of investigation) that provide a useful framework for examining what detectives do and the changing nature of their work. It is argued through these different perspectives that more needs to be done to articulate a theory of detective practice in order to provide transparency and rich information from which future generations of detectives can learn key skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalPolice Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

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