Publication Date

5-2018

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

3-9-2018

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Department

Criminal Justice

Major Advisor

Lisa G. Bostaph, Ph.D.

Advisor

Charles R. Honts, Ph.D.

Advisor

Laura King, Ph.D.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Abstract

The polygraph occupies a contentious place in the justice system. The instrument detects various physical responses and records these results, and the examiner interprets the readings and makes a determination on whether the test subject was truthful or deceptive. Polygraphs are, in some jurisdictions, a part of the court process and in others are forbidden. On the whole, there is less research on the polygraph and their permissibility in the legal process compared to other types of evidence. There is even less research on the opinions of jurors, especially compared to surveys of criminal justice professionals. That which is present is inconsistent. This thesis was intended to measure the opinions of a pool of potential jurors on the relative weight and veracity they assign to the polygraph. With the noted inconsistency, this research was primarily exploratory and replicative in nature. To obtain data, a 17-question online survey was administered to students in nine selected courses. Professors in these courses either forwarded the survey link to their students via email or posted the link on Blackboard. It was emphasized that the survey was strictly voluntary. There were three hypotheses: respondents would have only moderate faith in the polygraph, criminal justice students would have harsher views than those not in such courses, and that those selected to receive the extra literature summary would have harsher views than those who did not. Results of the study only substantiated the first hypothesis. Chi-square analysis showed an almost complete lack of significance in theorized relationships. Receipt of the additional literature summary only affected the respondents’ general opinions of polygraph evidence and was insignificant for every other dependent variable.

DOI

10.18122/td/1419/boisestate

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