|| Investigative Interviews of Children: A Guide for Helping Professionals
||Debra A. Poole and Michael E. Lamb
||American Psychological Association, ©1998
APA Order Department
P.O. Box 92984
Washington, DC 20090-2984
This 295-page book combines theory, research, and practice, and provides
practical instructions for conducting effective, noncontaminating interviews
of children. The book begins with a summary of the current understanding
about child abuse, including the controversies over interviewing strategies
and the factors behind false allegations. It then addresses the strengths
and weaknesses of children as witnesses and how this relates to interviewing.
The third chapter describes efforts to construct interview protocols, including
the cognitive interview, the step-wise interview, and the National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development protocol.
Chapter 4 presents a flexible interview protocol for interviewing children.
This chapter is detailed and practical and the suggestions are solidly grounded
in research. QuickGuides on the phases of the interview and the hierarchy
of interview questions provide readily accessible cues for an interviewer.
Chapter 5 summarizes the research on children's language development and
how this relates to talking with children. The evidence for ancillary techniques,
including drawings, anatomically-detailed dolls, and other props is reviewed
in Chapter 6, which also contains information on interviewing children with
disabilities, and a brief description of Criterion-Based Content Analysis/Statement
The last chapter contains an excellent discussion of decision theory and
judgment and decision making in professionals. Systematic errors and common
biases that result in mistaken conclusions are described, along with strategies
for overcoming these. The book ends with 32 pages of references and an index.
This important book should be read and studied by all professionals who
conduct investigatory interviews of children. It is the best available resource
for understanding how to interview children properly. It is also useful
for anyone who wants to know the current research on child witnesses and
how they must be interviewed to obtain reliable and accurate information.
Reviewed by Hollida Wakefield, Institute for Psychological Therapies.