Forensic scientists collect, preserve, and analyze scientific evidence during the course of an investigation. While some forensic scientists travel to the scene of the crime to collect the evidence themselves, others occupy a laboratory role, performing analysis on objects brought to them by other individuals.

In addition to their laboratory role, forensic scientists testify as expert witnesses in both criminal and civil cases and can work for either the prosecution. While any field could technically be forensic, certain sections have developed over time to encompass the majority of forensically related cases.  Forensic science is the combination of two different Latin words: forensis and science.