Difference Between Graphology and Questioned Document Examination

BY SIFS India | January 26, 2022

Difference Between Graphology and Questioned Document Examination

Graphology (handwriting analysis) and questioned document examination are the two disciplines dealing with the written matter. However, despite this similarity, there is a massive difference between them and a huge confusion about the difference. 

Here I will try to answer the meaning of each, what qualification you need to have, and job prospects associated with each study. 

What is the Difference Between Graphology and Questioned Document Examination?

Graphology: It assumes your personality traits are reflected in your handwriting and can determine these traits by analyzing handwriting characteristics. 

Graphologists do not need knowledge about how people write or what tool they use because the analysis is based on the fact that every individual has unique handwriting that reflects their unique personality. They look for "clues" in how someone writes to determine their personality type. 

Some of these clues include:

1. Margin spacing

2. Baseline alignment

3. Letter slant

4. Pressure

5. Size of letters

6. Connection types

7. Letter, word, and line spacing

8. Presentation 

9. Speed

10. Legibility 

Questioned Document Examination: It is a forensic science discipline that involves the examination of the documents and forms opinions about their genuineness, including typewritten and handwritten as well.

As a forensic document examiner, you either give your services to the law enforcement agency, a lawyer or when the court asked for the same. You review documents and look for alterations or forgery, examine the paper, the document is written on, the ink used, its color and type, or any other factor that could affect the validity of the evidence or the case itself. 

You may also be called upon to present an unbiased opinion based on your findings in court. 


Graphologist: To become a graphologist, it is not necessary to pursue a course in forensic science. Even people from different educational backgrounds can do graphology courses, get certified, and practice as a graphologist.

Questioned Document Examiner: To become a QDE, you must have a diploma or a bachelor's degree in forensic science, criminology, or a related field. Later you can also go for an advanced degree or diploma, such as a master's degree or postgraduate diploma in forensic sciences or questioned document examination. These higher degrees are beneficial when working on complex cases or applying for senior forensic expert job roles.

Career Prospects

Graphologist: People study graphology for self and professional use both. Most of them practice as freelancers or set their firm and help people improve their personality by analyzing their handwriting. As it is the study of processes going inside the brain when writing, it can only tell about your behavior, and it cannot prove whether the person in that state committed a crime or not. Hence for a graphologist to practice as a legal document advisor, training in the forensic questioned document is also required.

Questioned Document Examiner: QDEs are widely accepted by courts and law enforcement agencies worldwide. The demand for questioned document experts has increased significantly due to the amount of fraud occurring within the financial and legal fields. 

Government agencies, corporations hire QDEs, and private individuals to verify signatures, confirm authorship of documents, or authenticate vintage autographs. You can move up the ranks of law enforcement and government agencies, become a lab team member, or be promoted to supervisor or manager of a section within the lab where you currently work.  

Final Words

Now you must have understood that though both disciplines measure the physical characteristics of handwriting to determine information about the writer, the approach they use is different.

Graphology is a scientific study of thoughts and cannot convict anyone of committing a crime based on only the person's behavior. As a result, it is not accepted by the scientific community in the court of law.

On the other hand, questioned document examination is a scientific discipline developed by forensic scientists and relies on scientific methods to determine the authenticity of questioned documents. 

SIFS India is a government-recognized private forensic science lab and institute that offers hands-on training in graphology and questioned document examination.

You can take advantage of their years of experience to carve a solid career in these fields and be a part of the ever-growing forensic science community