CREST guide: the cognitive interview

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This CREST Guide is an overview of an interviewing protocol – the Cognitive Interview – which aims to improve the recall of accurate and reliable information from interviewees. The Cognitive Interview is a theory and evidence-based approach which addresses three primary psychological processes that underlie interviews with cooperative interviewees:
1. the social dynamics between the interviewee and interviewer;
2. the interviewee’s and interviewer’s cognitive processes; and
3. communication between the interviewee and interviewer.
This approach can be used, with a co-operative interviewee, in any debrief or interview where the goal is to elicit detailed information. The guide outlines the Cognitive Interview as a set of phases to be worked through. However, to be used effectively in the field it should be implemented as a toolbox of skills to be used strategically, including only those elements that are appropriate for the specific interview, and modifying or adapting the various elements as the situation demands.
Original languageEnglish
TypeInterviewing protocol guide
PublisherCentre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016


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