SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of forensic trace analysis 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
244145  Demonstrate an understanding of forensic trace analysis 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Forensic Science 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security Safety in Society 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard is intended for learners who will be required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of elementary principles of forensic trace evidence analysis.

On completion of this unit standard the learner will be able to identify and describe the different types of trace evidence that are found and know the forensic properties that are used to identify and compare this type of evidence in forensic investigations. The learner will understand the principles underlying the forensic chemical and physical analysis of trace evidence found on a scene of incidence and how to identify, collect, preserve and store such evidence. The learner will also demonstrate knowledge of the use of microscopy and other forensic chemistry related techniques in the analysis of trace evidence for forensic investigation purposes.

A person credited with this unit standard will be able to:
  • Explain the characteristics of forensic chemical trace evidence.
  • Explain the value of explosives as trace evidence in forensic investigations.
  • Explain elementary principles of techniques applied in forensic trace analysis.
  • Explain the evidential value of trace evidence in forensic investigations. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of forensic science", ID 242712.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of the specialised fields in forensic science", ID 242708.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of forensic chemistry analysis".
  • Communication at NQF Level 4.
  • Physical Science at NQF Level 4.
  • Mathematics at NQF Level 4. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Explain the characteristics of forensic chemical trace evidence. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The physical and chemical properties of glass are described as trace evidence in forensic investigations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Fibres are described in context to its forensic properties in trace analysis. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The chemical characteristics of paint are explained in terms of forensic trace analysis. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The composition and chemical properties of metals are explained in terms of forensic trace analysis. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Metals here must include precious metals.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The composition and morphology of primer residue is described in context to forensic investigations. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Explain the value of explosives as trace evidence in forensic investigations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Types of explosives are described as evidence in forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Types of explosives refer to but are not limited to:
  • High and low explosives and primary and secondary explosives.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The identification, collection and preservation of trace evidence from a scene of an explosion are described in context forensic trace evidence analysis. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Elementary methodology of analysis techniques for the identification of explosives are explained in context to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Analysis techniques refer to but are not limited to:
  • Colour spot tests, thin-layer chromatography (TLC), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ion chromatography (IC) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Explain elementary principles of techniques applied in forensic trace analysis. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Types of microscopes are explained according to their functioning principles and use in forensic trace analysis techniques. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Types of microscopes refer to but are not limited to:
  • Compound, comparison, stereoscopic, polarizing, micro-spectrophotometer and scanning electron microscope.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The methods and equipment for comparing glass fragments are explained in terms of forensic examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods and equipment refer to but are not limited to:
  • Weight and mass comparison, density comparison, refractive index comparison and the hot stage microscope.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Methods and equipment used to identify and compare fibres are explained in context to forensic trace analysis. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods and equipment refer to but are not limited to:
  • Visible-light micro-spectrophotometer, infrared spectrophotometry and the polarizing microscope.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Physical and chemical analysis of trace elements in paint is described in context to forensic trace analysis. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Physical and chemical analysis refers to but is not limited to:
  • Stereoscopic microscope comparison, infrared spectrophotometry and gas chromatography analysis techniques.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Presumptive and confirmative testing for the presence of primer residue is explained in context to forensic trace analysis. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Testing refers to but is not limited to:
  • The metal mark test, the use of neutron activation analysis, flameless atomic absorption spectrometry and the scanning electron microscope.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Explain the evidential value of trace evidence in forensic investigations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The purpose of trace evidence is explained in context to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Trace evidence refers to but is not limited to:
  • Glass fragments, fibres, soil, paint, metals and precious metals and primer residue.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The identification and collection of trace evidence are described in context to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Trace evidence refers to but is not limited to:
  • Glass fragments, fibres, soil, paint, explosives, metals, precious metals and primer residue.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The preservation and storage of trace evidence are described in context to forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Trace evidence refers to but is not limited to:
  • Glass fragments, fibres, soil, paint, metals and precious metals and primer residue.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Health and safety requirements are explained for trace evidence handling and examination. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Any individual who wishes to be assessed against this unit standard (including assessment of RPL) may apply to an assessment agency, assessor or provider institution accredited by the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Anyone assessing a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA. Assessors must be competent in the outcome of the unit standard.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable achievement of this unit standard or assessing this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be conducted by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the relevant ETQA procedures. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Current and as amended Civil Proceedings Evidence Act (Act 25 of 1965).
  • Current and as amended Section 212(4) (a) and 8(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977).
  • Current relevant occupational health and safety legislation.
  • Elementary concepts of chemistry.
  • Elementary knowledge of laboratory environments and laboratory equipment and consumables.
  • Elementary concepts of forensic science investigations.
  • Elementary concepts of scene of incidence investigations. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions, using critical thinking, have been made. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organise and manage oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical, and/or language skills in the modes of written and/or oral presentation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically, show responsibility towards the environment and the health of others. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO CONTRIBUTING 
    Contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the society at large, by making it the underlying intention of any programme of learning to make an individual aware of the importance of:
  • Reflecting on and exploring a variety of strategies to learn more effectively.
  • Participating as responsible citizens in the life of local, national and global communities.
  • Being culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Glossary of Terminology:
  • Chromatography: Any of various techniques utilised for the separation of complex mixtures that rely on the differential affinities of substances for a gas or liquid mobile medium and for a stationary adsorbing medium through which they pass.
  • Comparison microscope: The comparison microscope consists of two independent objective lenses joined together by an optical bridge to a common eyepiece lens.
  • Compound microscope: A microscope in which the object is placed under the lower objective lens and the magnified image is viewed in the upper eyepiece lens.
  • Confirmative testing: Tests that determine the identity of a substance.
  • Density comparison: Soil samples can be compared using a density comparison test. Two liquids of differing densities are added in a series of varying proportions to a density-gradient tube to create a density gradient within the tube. Often the gradient is calculated such that each successive layer in the tube will have a lower density than the preceding layer to form a decreasing density gradient from the bottom to the top of the tube. When the soil sample is added to the density-gradient tube each soil particle will settle in the tube at its equivalent density. This creates a density distribution pattern or profile of the soil sample that can be used in the comparison between known samples and evidential samples. (Saferstein, 2006).
  • Density-gradient tubes: A glass tube filled from the bottom to top with liquids of successively lighter densities (Saferstein, 2006).
  • Gas Chromatography: A chromatography technique that separates a mixture of organic components on the basis of the components' affinity for a specific stationary phase and where the mobile phase consists of a gas.
  • High explosives: An explosive with a velocity of detonation greater than 1000 meters per second. (Saferstein, 2006).
  • High-performance liquid chromatography: A chromatography technique that separates a mixture of components on the basis of the components' affinity for a specific stationary phase and where the mobile phase consists of a liquid. A high pressure is applied to the liquid phase in order to speed up the movement of the liquid phase trough the stationary phase.
  • Infrared spectrophotometer: Instruments that characterise chemical compounds according to the absorption of light in the infrared spectrum.
  • Low explosives: An explosive with a velocity of detonation less than 1000 meters per second (Saferstein, 2006).
  • Mass spectrometry: Mass spectrometry is a technique designed to separate ions in the gas phase according to their m/z (mass to charge ratio) value. This is achieved by passing the ions, which can be formed by using various ionisation techniques, through an electric or magnetic field.
  • Metal mark test: Colour test for the presence of metal residue.
  • Micro-spectrophotometer: A spectrophotometer coupled with a light microscope to simultaneously obtain the visible absorption spectrum of the material.
  • Polarising microscope: The polarizing microscope examines the interaction of plane-polarized light with matter.
  • Presumptive testing: Screening tests to determine the probable identity of a substance.
  • Primary explosives: High explosive easily detonated by heat or shock.
  • Refractive index: Refractive index is a measurement of the bending of a beam of light when it passes from one material into another and the two materials have different densities (i.e. light passing from air through water is bent because air and water have different densities).
  • Scanning electron microscope: The scanning electron microscope bombards a specimen with a beam of electrons instead of light to produce a highly magnified image from 10X to 100,000X that produces X-ray emissions that can be used to characterise elements present in the material under investigation.
  • Secondary explosives: High explosive that is detonated by a primary explosive.
  • Stereomicroscope: The stereoscopic microscope is two monocular compound microscopes properly spaced and aligned to present a three-dimensional image of a specimen.
  • Thin-layer chromatography: A chromatography technique in which the solid phase consists of a thin layer of granular material on a suitable inert plate and where the mobile phase is a liquid.

    List of Abbreviations:
  • GC: Gas chromatography.
  • GC-MS: Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy.
  • HPLC: High-performance liquid chromatography.
  • IC: Ion chromatography.
  • TLC: Thin layer chromatography. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  57651   National Certificate: Forensic Science  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2023-06-30  SAS SETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.