Investigative Interviewers' Perceptions of Their Difficulty in Adhering to Open-Ended Questions with Child Witnesses

  • Wright R
  • Powell M
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Abstract

Best practice guidelines for conducting investigative interviews of children emphasise the importance of obtaining free narrative accounts with the use of open-ended questions. However, research indicates that most investigative interviewers underutilise open-ended questions, even following intensive training in their use. The aim of the current study was to explore investigative interviewers’ perceptions of their difficulty in asking open-ended questions. During a training course on how to use open-ended questions, eight child abuse investigators were individually interviewed about why they had asked specific questions in a 10-minute mock interview conducted immediately earlier with a school child. Overall, three reasons were identified. These related to: 1. the specificity of the information required from children; 2. the unfamiliar nature of the open-ended discourse style; and 3. the complex distinction between open-ended versus specific questions. Each of these themes is discussed, along with the implications for trainers and researchers in child investigative interviewing

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Authors

  • Rebecca Wright

  • Martine B. Powell

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