Investigative Interviewing

When conducting investigations into incidents/accidents, interviews are an important source of evidence and sometimes they are the only source of evidence. However interviewing skills do not come naturally to most of us and research shows that good techniques are not commonly used. So how do we ensure that our interviews obtain as much relevant and accurate information as possible?

Effective investigative interviews require planning and must be conducted with a view to supporting the interviewee’s genuine memory retrieval. To achieve this, investigators must learn how to effectively relinquish control of the interview to allow the interviewee’s memories to be freely recalled and communicated without interruption. This must be done without further influencing the direction or content of the information being provided. Memory enhancing techniques can then be used to gather further detailed information, including by accessing multiple memory pathways and sensory channels, ensuring that as much detailed information is obtained as possible. 

The Keil Centre has developed an Investigative Interview Skills training course to improve the quality and effectiveness of investigations, based on cognitive interview techniques. The cognitive interview technique is grounded in scientifically established principles and is designed to enhance the retrieval of genuine witness or involved person memory, and to minimise the contamination of those memories that can occur by ineffective interviewer questioning techniques. Cognitive interviewing techniques have been shown to gain up to 40% more information than traditional interviewing methods.

Some description

Who is it for?

This course is relevant for safety investigators and personnel who are responsible for interviewing, such as within auditing or training.

It is recommended that participants have at least a basic understanding of safety investigation, including some knowledge of the principles of evidence collection, analysis and review, within a just culture framework. Previous human factors training is not essential.

What will delegates learn?

The course is two days in duration to ensure sufficient practice and skill development. By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Understand factors that influence witnesses and involved persons’ ability to provide accurate information in interviews and statements;
  • Understand the components and structure of the cognitive interview for enhancing accuracy of evidence acquired from safety investigation interviews; and
  • Be able to effectively plan and conduct cognitive interviews of witnesses and involved persons for internal incident/accident investigations.

Find out more

For more information about Investigative Interviewing Skills training for your organisation, please contact our office: 

in Edinburgh - +44(0)1312296140 or

in Australia - +61 (0)8 6205 3034 or 

Some of our clients include:

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