Frequency Occurrence in Handwriting and Hand Printing Characteristics


The goal of the project is to provide statistically accurate frequency ratios as to the occurrence of pre-selected handwriting and hand printing characteristics.  There have been several instances in which judges hae admitted handwriting comparisons but have made particular note of the lack of statistical bases for the premise that individual identifications are possible.  While the study does not attempt to address the philosophical issue, it will provide the statistical numbers based on a goal sampling of 5,000 writers.  While this project is about handwriting Vastrick makes it very clear that this is statistical study.  As such statisticians are driving the methodology based on ISO standards within the statistical profession.  The results of this methodological procedure includes the following:


1.    Use of stratified population sampling mirroring the diversity of the general population in order to achieve minimal sampling error.

2.    Selection of handwriting characteristics based on tested objectivity.

3.    Selection of exemplar text.

4.    Use of common paper stock and writing instruments to minimize variables.

5.    Application and inclusion of various intrinsic and extrinsic factors that are known to, or could, affect handwriting.


One of the greatest strengths of this project is the use of pilot studies, assessments and other statistical quality control techniques that leaves little room for legitimate criticism of the methodology and, hence, the results.  These results are palnned to be in the form of the raw ratios.  As previously stated the philosophical consequences (i.e. do we continue with "identification", use "highly probable" or what) of this study will have to be hammered out by the profession or our profession in conjunction with others in a similar position such as fingerprint examinations upon completion.