Bilateral Austraila: Interviewing Eyewitnesses: Ehancing Output Quantity and Diagnosing Accuracy

Project Details


Effective interviews with witnesses are a key part of the criminal investigation process. Although it is generally agreed that open-ended questioning enhances output, this approach frequently fails to produce forensically important details, witnesses can be unresponsive, and surveys of police practice suggest that consistently open interviewing styles are rare.

The current research will systematically test a non-leading closed-question technique that requires respondents to provide answers at different levels of detail (or 'grain size'). This novel technique is designed to:

increase the quantity of information eyewitnesses report and

evaluate the accuracy of reported information.

This approach is based on psychological theory on the strategic control of memory reporting, and recent research on the relationship between metacognitive judgments of confidence and accuracy.

This programme of research will be conducted in the UK and Australia by combining the efforts of research groups with distinct approaches to enhancing eyewitness recall. In a series of controlled experiments, the researchers will examine the performance of the grain size interview, focusing on confidence, retention interval, and capacity to preserve information over time. Experiments will also consider the ability of the grain size interview to differentiate between repeated events and protect against misleading post-event information.
Effective start/end date1/10/0931/12/10


  • Economic and Social Research Council, UK: £81,281.00


  • Psychology


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