The Effects of Interviewer Perception on Lines of Inquiry in Investigative Interviewing

Lisa Spahr, University of Pittsburgh
Laurence Alison, University of Liverpool

It has been widely accepted that lines of inquiry particularly question types, can determine the information that is gathered and the way in which people respond to investigative inquiries. Interviewing strategies are more frequently being called into question in courtrooms, investigative training and scientific research. Attempting to understand the foundations for those chosen lines of inquiry, necessary in order to facilitate any changes in the future, appears less often in current investigative research. This discussion will focus on the perceptions held about suspects' guilt or innocence, and how those perceptions may be correlated with the questioning techniques. Seventy-one U.S. law enforcement and military investigators completed questionnaires eliciting lines of inquiry surrounding high profile murder scenarios. The results to be discussed involve differences found between investigators, County, Military, Federal and gender; as well as examine correlations of perceptions and question types; open, closed, accusatory, multiple, leading, action, emotion, fact, and reinstatement of context. This research has policy and training implications for investigative interviewing

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Updated 05/20/2006