Frequently Asked Questions

  • The name of your organization uses the term "Questioned Document Examiner," but you frequently refer to "Forensic Document Examiners" on your website. Is there a difference or are they the same thing?

    • They are the same thing. The older term is Questioned Document Examiner or sometimes "Examiner of Questioned Documents." In the 1970's, the term Forensic Document Examiner started becoming more popular and that is the term most commonly used today. The ASQDE uses the term Questioned Document Examiner in its name because the organization was founded in 1942 when that was the commonly used term.

  • What do forensic document examiners do?

    • Many forensic document examiners work in a federal, state or local crime laboratories. A number of other forensic document examiners are in private practice and mainly work on civil cases. For most forensic document examiners, the most common examination is the comparison of handwriting and signatures to determine whether someone did or did not write them. Other types of examinations include the examination typewriting, computer printed documents, photocopies, decipherment of altered, obliterated and charred documents, the examination of inks and paper, decipherment of erased entries and indented writings, detection of counterfeit currency, and the examination of commercially printed matter.

  • Do forensic document examiners determine personality or character from handwriting?

    • No, the practice of trying to determine personality or character from handwriting is referred to as graphology, graphoanalysis®, or simply handwriting analysis.  This practice is not part of forensic document examination.

  • How can I find a forensic document examiner to conduct an examination for me?

    • Click the "Find and Expert" button on our main navigation bar. You will find a list of ASQDE members in private practice as forensic document examiners.

  • How can I become a forensic document examiner?

    • The recognized training period for forensic document examiners is a minimum of two years of full-time training under the tutelage of a qualified forensic document examiner. There are no college programs that will train you to become a forensic document examiner. Many forensic document examiners are trained in federal, state or local crime laboratories. Some are trained by qualified private examiners. The ASQDE does not recognize self-instruction to fulfill the requirements of basic training as a forensic document examiner. We also do not recognize any online or correspondence courses. The ASQDE recognizes the current version of ASTM standard E2388 as containing the basic requirements for training for forensic document examiners.

  • Does the ASQDE have a position on the authenticity of the Barak Obama birth certificate, the Bush memo, who wrote the JonBenét Ramsey letter, etc.?

    • The ASQDE is a professional membership organization whose goals are to foster education, sponsor scientific research, establish standards, and exchange experiences among public and private practitioners in the field of forensic document examination. The ASQDE, as an organization, does not provide analysis, render findings, or state opinions regarding evidence related to particular cases. Individual ASQDE officers and members are free to give their professional opinions regarding such matters, but when they do, their opinions are their own. Their opinions should not be construed to represent a position taken by the ASQDE.