Infant and Child Development

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Volume 18 Issue 1 (January/February 2009), Pages 1-104

Making the most of information‐gathering interviews with children (pages 1-16)


Because child abuse victims are often the only available sources of information about their experiences, extensive efforts have been made to understand how to maximize their informativeness. There is now broad international consensus regarding optimal interview practices, and broad awareness that children's informativeness increases when interviewers conduct developmentally appropriate interviews with children. In this paper, we (1) summarize current understanding of how children remember, retrieve, and communicate information and (2) discuss ways in which children's memory and reporting can be fostered using techniques designed to help children recount past experiences such as the Cognitive Interview, the Narrative Elaboration Technique, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development‐Protocol. Communicative success clearly depends on how well children understand their role and how effectively interviewers take advantage of children's competencies and abilities to help them maximize their informativeness. Unfortunately, agreement regarding ways in which interviews should be conducted has not been paralleled by changes in the way interviews are actually conducted in the field and more attention thus needs to be paid to training and implementation. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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