International consensus on effective and ineffective interviewing strategies

A survey of experienced practitioners

Diane Sivasubramaniam, Jane Goodman-Delahunty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We explored interviewing practitioners’ views about the effectiveness of a range of diverse interview strategies in the field. An online survey examined 73 interviewing practices comprising six broad strategy types and their perceived effectiveness. Interview practices were rated by a multinational sample of 324 criminal investigators and intelligence operators. Experienced interviewers reported preferences for cooperative, non-coercive information-gathering approaches. Rapport-building was rated highly effective in securing reliable information. Interviewers reported some use of coercive techniques, but more commonly employed procedural justice elements of respect, kindness, genuine concern, and addressing basic interviewee needs to build rapport. They favoured non-coercive presentations of testimonial inconsistencies and evidence. Results demonstrate support by a large, experienced, international sample of interviewing practitioners for rapport-based techniques over coercive techniques and revealed broad consensus on effective strategies. Furthermore, findings demonstrated that this consensus centres around the effectiveness of rapport-based investigative interviewing, rather than coercive or accusatorial techniques.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolice Practice and Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2019

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AB - We explored interviewing practitioners’ views about the effectiveness of a range of diverse interview strategies in the field. An online survey examined 73 interviewing practices comprising six broad strategy types and their perceived effectiveness. Interview practices were rated by a multinational sample of 324 criminal investigators and intelligence operators. Experienced interviewers reported preferences for cooperative, non-coercive information-gathering approaches. Rapport-building was rated highly effective in securing reliable information. Interviewers reported some use of coercive techniques, but more commonly employed procedural justice elements of respect, kindness, genuine concern, and addressing basic interviewee needs to build rapport. They favoured non-coercive presentations of testimonial inconsistencies and evidence. Results demonstrate support by a large, experienced, international sample of interviewing practitioners for rapport-based techniques over coercive techniques and revealed broad consensus on effective strategies. Furthermore, findings demonstrated that this consensus centres around the effectiveness of rapport-based investigative interviewing, rather than coercive or accusatorial techniques.

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