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The use of ground rules in investigative interviews with children : a synthesis and call for research

Brubacher, Sonja P., Poole, Debra Ann and Dickinson, Jason J. 2015, The use of ground rules in investigative interviews with children : a synthesis and call for research, Developmental review, vol. 36, pp. 15-33, doi: 10.1016/j.dr.2015.01.001.

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Title The use of ground rules in investigative interviews with children : a synthesis and call for research
Author(s) Brubacher, Sonja P.
Poole, Debra Ann
Dickinson, Jason J.
Journal name Developmental review
Volume number 36
Start page 15
End page 33
Total pages 19
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2015-06
ISSN 0273-2297
Keyword(s) Children
Ground rules
Interview instructions
Investigative interviewing
Metacognition
Summary Guidelines for conducting investigative interviews with children often include instructions that explain the conversational rules of the interview. Despite the widespread and international use of such instructions (also referred to as "ground rules"), the body of research characterizing children's understanding of these rules and documenting the impact of instruction on memory reports is relatively small. We review the use of ground rules in investigative interviews, the developmental differences that likely underlie children's ability to make sense of these rules, and research pertaining to the effects of the ground rules commonly included in interview guidelines on the reports of 3- to 13-year-old children. We then present a study space analysis concerning the five ground rules reviewed: (a) a statement about interviewer naïveté regarding the target events, (b) instructions to tell the interviewer when a mistake has been made, (c) cautions that some questions may be repeated, and instructions to say (d) "I don't understand" and (e) "I don't know." The results demonstrate obvious gaps in this body of literature, with only the "I don't know" ground rule having received significant attention. In addition to exploring how individual rules impact interview performance, we encourage more process-oriented studies that relate developmental differences in ground rules benefits to the cognitive processes that underlie rule understanding and implementation. Optimally, this research should identify the most suitable format and placement of instruction in interviews and broaden to more often include field studies of child witnesses.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.dr.2015.01.001
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
170104 Forensic Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Academic Press
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30072542

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.