A controlled analysis of professionals' contemporaneous notes of interviews about alleged child abuse

Cauchi, Rita T., Powell, Martine B. and Hughes-Scholes, Carolyn H. 2010, A controlled analysis of professionals' contemporaneous notes of interviews about alleged child abuse, Child abuse & neglect, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 318-323, doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.09.016.

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Title A controlled analysis of professionals' contemporaneous notes of interviews about alleged child abuse
Author(s) Cauchi, Rita T.
Powell, Martine B.ORCID iD for Powell, Martine B. orcid.org/0000-0001-5092-1308
Hughes-Scholes, Carolyn H.
Journal name Child abuse & neglect
Volume number 34
Issue number 5
Start page 318
End page 323
Total pages 6
Publisher Pergamon
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2010-05
ISSN 0145-2134
Keyword(s) Investigative interviewing
Note taking
Record keeping
Summary Objective : The current study investigated (under optimal conditions) the accuracy and completeness of professionals’ contemporaneous written notes of child abuse interviews.
Method : Participants included 107 experienced child abuse investigators who were all trained to adhere to best-practice interview guidelines and who routinely took notes as records of interviews. The interviews documented for this study were read live for 15 min duration, and at a pace of 2.2 words (on average)/s. The professionals’ notes of the interviews were analyzed for completeness and accuracy. Key outcome measures were the prevalence and discernability of the questions (i.e., whether the structure of questions was recorded accurately) as well as the child responses.
Results : Despite the omission of 39% of abuse-related details, recording of content details was clearly prioritized over interviewer questions. This was revealed irrespective of the measure of note taking quality or the quality of the interview being recorded. Of the various layout styles employed, scrutiny of interviewer questions was maximized by: (a) using symbols or spacing to delineate questions and responses, (b) capturing the first two words of a question, and (c) using abbreviations.
Conclusions : Although note taking could potentially improve with further research, training and instruction, this form of documentation does not provide full scrutiny of the interview process, even under optimal conditions.
Practice implications : Electronic recording is strongly recommended for all interviews, especially considering global concerns about interviewers’ adherence to best-practice interview guidelines. If notes continue to be used as a record of interview, further research and training are urgently warranted to improve note taking competency.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.09.016
Field of Research 170104 Forensic Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30032020

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
Higher Education Research Group
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