The Productivity of Wh-Prompts in Child Forensic Interviews

33 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2007-2015 (2018)

USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS15-33

USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 15-35

10 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2015 Last revised: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Elizabeth Ahern

Elizabeth Ahern

University of Cambridge

Samantha Andrews

University of Cambridge

Stacia Stolzenberg

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Criminology & Criminal Justice

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Date Written: June 4, 2018

Abstract

Child witnesses are often asked wh-prompts (what, how, why, who, when, where) in forensic interviews. However, little research has examined the ways in which children respond to different wh-prompts and no previous research has investigated productivity differences among wh-prompts in investigative interviews. This study examined the use and productivity of wh-prompts in 95 transcripts of 4- to 13-year-olds alleging sexual abuse in child investigative interviews. What-how questions about actions elicited the most productive responses during both the rapport building and substantive phases. Future research and practitioner training should consider distinguishing among different wh-prompts.

Keywords: forensic interviewing, child sexual abuse, wh-prompts, rapport building, question types

Suggested Citation

Ahern, Elizabeth and Andrews, Samantha and Stolzenberg, Stacia and Lyon, Thomas D., The Productivity of Wh-Prompts in Child Forensic Interviews (June 4, 2018). 33 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2007-2015 (2018), USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS15-33, USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 15-35, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2685874

Elizabeth Ahern (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Samantha Andrews

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Stacia Stolzenberg

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Criminology & Criminal Justice ( email )

411 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ Arizona 85004
United States
6024960495 (Phone)

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-0142 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

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