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.