Mapping Repeated Interviews


The present study introduces an adaptation of the Griffiths Question Map (GQM; Griffiths and Milne 2006) which extends the chronological, visual map of question types used in an investigative interview to include child interviewee’s responses (through the addition of the Interview Answer Grid, IAG). Furthermore, it provides a rare evaluation of repeated interviews with children. From a sample of transcripts of Scottish repeated interviews with child victims, two ‘good’ and two ‘poor’ first interviews were chosen based on interviewer question types. First and second investigative interviews of these four children were mapped using the GQM and IAG in order to examine across the two interviews the similarity of interviewer and interviewee behaviours and the consistency and investigative-relevance of information provided. Both ‘good’ and ‘poor’ interviews were found to include practices discouraged by interviewing guidelines, which would not have been identified by examining question proportions alone. Furthermore, ‘good’ first interviews were followed by second interviews which began with poor question types, suggesting a possible impact of confirmation bias. Social support was also assessed and found to be used infrequently, mainly in response to the child being informative rather than pre-emptively by interviewers in an attempt to encourage this. Children were also found to disclose throughout their second interviews, suggesting that rapport-maintenance is vital for single and multiple interviews. The use of the GQM and IAG is encouraged as a technique for determining interview quality.

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    Full analysis of all 21 children’s interview transcripts can be found in Waterhouse et al. (2016).


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The lead author conducted the research as part of her PhD which was funded by London South Bank University’s Institute of Social Science Research.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Genevieve F. Waterhouse.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study obtained ethical approval from London South Bank University where the lead author was conducting her PhD and the second and final author held academic positions at the time of data collection.

Informed Consent

The present study entailed analysis of transcripts of police interviews. Transcripts from cases that had gone to trial had been provided by lawyers to one of the authors for quality assessment through that author’s work as an expert witness, and the author gave consent for anonymised versions to be used for the study.


Appendix 1 Example Coding Sheet (First Quarter of Child ‘A’ Interview 1)

Explanation of Variables:

  • Time: Each utterance was entered into the sheet as one row. The rows were set out in chronological order, with time indicating that order.

  • Int_Phase: This indicated the phase of the interview the utterance was made in (rapport-building or substantive).

  • Utterance_Type: For an interviewer utterance, the type of question (invitation, directive, option-posing, suggestive, multiple or unknown) or non-question utterance (Supportive, Neutral or Unsupportive) was coded here. For an interviewee utterance, the type of response was coded here; informative (separated by people, actions, locations, items or temporal details) or otherwise (separated into uninformative or non-substantive details).

  • Support_InvestRelevance: For an interviewer question, the support provided (Supportive, Neutral non-supportive) was coded here. For an interviewee informative response, investigative-relevance (high or low) was coded here only for first interviews. For second interviews, the interviewee’s informative response was coded for investigative-relevance, consistency and novelty (high investigative-relevance and new consistent, high investigative-relevance and new contradictory, high investigative-relevance and repeated, low investigative-relevance and new consistent, low investigative-relevance and new contradictory, or low investigative-relevance and repeated).


Appendix 2 Tables Comparing Question Proportions

Table 3 Number and percentage of question types by interview quality
Table 4 Number and percentage of question types by interview number and quality and percentage difference in question types from second to first interview
Table 5 Child response type by interview quality
Table 6 Child informativeness by question type

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Waterhouse, G.F., Ridley, A.M., Bull, R. et al. Mapping Repeated Interviews. J Police Crim Psych 34, 392–409 (2019).

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  • Investigative interviewing
  • Child victims
  • Repeated interviews
  • Social support
  • Question types
  • Griffiths Question Map