The effect of interviewing techniques on young children's responses to questions

Child Care Health Dev. 2006 May;32(3):321-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2006.00608.x.


Background: Research into the effect of interviewing techniques has been predominantly within the paradigm of eyewitness testimony. This review focuses on the issues of questioning and examines whether children's responses are affected by questioning techniques, and whether these effects are generic to all interviewing contexts.

Methods: Systematic literature searches were used to identify areas of concern and current findings in research on interviewing young children (aged 4-12).

Results: The style and wording of questioning can affect children's responses and accuracy positively and negatively. These effects were especially apparent in interviews with the youngest children.

Conclusions: The implications of these findings are relevant in all contexts where an adult questions a child. It has been demonstrated that interviewing techniques can affect responses from children and that it is therefore imperative that interviewers are aware of, understand and control their influence in order to elicit complete, accurate and reliable information from the child.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Jurisprudence
  • Mental Recall
  • Police
  • Psychology, Child
  • Suggestion
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Time Factors