The Research Process

Stage Two:
Investigative interviews

 

One week later, the children were interviewed in more detail about what they saw during the talk, using one of three interview techniques. We assessed which interview techniques improved the amount of information that the children recall, without making them more prone to errors.

 

Interview 1 (verbal labels): The children were asked to tell the interviewer about the event, before being asked to recall further information about different aspects of the event (e.g., the people there, where it happened, what the people did).

 

Interview 2 (sketching): The children were asked to draw a detailed sketch of the event, including as much detail as they wished. They were also asked to describe to the interviewer each element of the sketch, as they drew it.

 

Interview 3 (intermediary assistance): An intermediary is an impartial, trained professional who facilitates communication between vulnerable individuals (e.g., child witnesses, witnesses on the autism spectrum) and criminal justice professionals (e.g., police officers, barristers). Intermediaries conduct an initial assessment of the witness, advise how best to elicit evidence, and aid the witness in understanding and responding at different stages of a criminal investigation (including at interview). In our study, one of two intermediaries supported the children throughout our mock criminal investigation, including at interview.

 

All of these interviews were compared against a current 'best-practice' police interview technique.