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Journal cover: Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management

ISSN: 1363-951X
Previously published as: Police Studies: Intnl Review of Police Development
Incorporates: American Journal of Police

Online from: 1997

Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management

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Enhancing narrative coherence in simulated interviews about child abuse


Document Information:
Title:Enhancing narrative coherence in simulated interviews about child abuse
Author(s):Martine B. Powell, (School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia), Brooke B. Feltis, (School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia), Carolyn H. Hughes-Scholes, (School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)
Citation:Martine B. Powell, Brooke B. Feltis, Carolyn H. Hughes-Scholes, (2011) "Enhancing narrative coherence in simulated interviews about child abuse", Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Vol. 34 Iss: 2, pp.198 - 210
Keywords:Children (age groups), Interviews, Narratives, Research, Role play, Witnesses
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/13639511111131049 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The research was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (LP0775248). The authors acknowledge the support of the Managers and Child Abuse Investigators who volunteered to participate in this project. They are also grateful to Sarah Agnew, Yale Warren and Katie Miles for their assistance with data collection, and to Rebecca Steinberg for her editorial assistance.
Abstract:

Purpose – Simulated child interviews, where adults play the role of a child witness for trainee investigative interviewers, are an essential tool used to train investigators to adhere to non-leading, open-ended questions. The aim of this study is to examine whether the use of a training procedure that guides persons playing the role of a child in simulated interviews results in interviewees producing more coherent narratives (measured by the number of story grammar details).

Design/methodology/approach – A total of 80 police officers individually engaged in ten-minute interviews, whereby an untrained (colleague), or trained respondent, played the role of the child interviewee. For each child respondent condition, the interviews varied according to child age (five or eight years).

Findings – As predicted, trained respondents reported a higher proportion of story grammar elements and a lower proportion of contextual information than the untrained respondents, as well as more story grammar elements in response to open-ended questions. However, there were limitations in how well both groups tailored their story grammar to the age of the child they were representing.

Originality/value – These findings demonstrate that our training procedure promotes a more coherent interviewee account, and facilitates a response style that is more reinforcing of open-ended questions.



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