Eliciting information in online interactions: development of a rapport-based protocol for security contexts

Lorraine Hope*, Alejandra De La Fuente Vilar, Feni Kontogianni, Simon Oleszkiewicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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Online interactions with the goal of eliciting intelligence or investigative information are, increasingly, a core activity in security contexts. To date, however, research has not assessed the extent to which information elicitation strategies designed for face-to-face interactions are effective in online contexts. The current research tested a rapport-based information elicitation approach for use with human intelligence (HUMINT) sources online. Following the development of a novel online methodology and extensive associated piloting, two versions of a rapport-based interviewing protocol were tested for respective use in situations where some key information is known to the interviewer or not. These protocols incorporated evidence-based interviewing practices for eliciting information in face-to-face interviews, including rapport-building, transfer of control, open prompts, confirmatory claims, and elements of motivational interviewing. In a pre-registered experiment, participants (N = 202) engaged as HUMINT mock-sources in an immersive online scenario that placed them in an information management dilemma in a subsequent online chat interview (i.e., text-based communication only). Rapport-based interviewing approaches produced significantly more units of information and were perceived more positively by participants (cf. participants interviewed using a direct approach). These results are promising and relevant for practitioners tasked with eliciting critical intelligence in online contexts from potentially reluctant sources.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2022
EventBehavioural and Social Sciences in Security, 2022 - Lancaster, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Jul 2022 → …


ConferenceBehavioural and Social Sciences in Security, 2022
Abbreviated titleBASS 22
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period19/07/22 → …


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