Within the fields of forensics and criminal justice there is the hot topic of crime show representations and their accuracies/inaccuracies. Some people owe these shows for exposing the career choice to them while others within the field blame these shows for common misconceptions about their career. This study utilizes the research done concerning the two main theories that apply to crime show effects: the cultivation theory and the CSI Effect. By examining the current research, a new study was conducted to further confirm or deny the claims made by both theories which aim to say that these crime shows are impacting people’s perceptions of what is often depicted. To accomplish this, a content analysis was done over the popular crime drama Criminal Minds. The evidence collected agreed with most of the ideas that research surrounding the CSI Effect has described. There was a great disparity in the type of evidence shown and which ones had positive or negative representations which in turn can cause people to have unrealistic expectations of evidence within the courtroom. This evidence disparity also supported the idea that rather than simply being coined the ‘CSI Effect’ a better name may be the ‘tech effect’. In addition, the occupations represented throughout Criminal Minds were mostly positive and could account for students’ motivations to enroll in certain majors and careers. More research still needs to be done but it is clear that the depictions within crime shows have the ability to influence people’s views of criminal investigations.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2023


Krista Kimmel

Mentor Department Affiliation


Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level