Dynamics in Using Different Question Types in Estonian Police Interviews of Children



The present study examined Estonian police officers' interviewing tactics with children in cases of physical and/or sexual abuse, as there are no published studies conducted in a country formally part of the Soviet Union. Also, the dynamics in using different question types within interviews was examined. Investigative interviews with 66 children (mean age 8 years 10 months, range 4 to 14 years) were transcribed and analyzed. Option-posing and direct questions were most frequently employed, but invitations produced significantly more information. Four to seven-year-old children were asked more suggestive questions than older children. As interviews progressed, the average number of explanations and general invitations per interview decreased, whereas the number of suggestive and option-posing questions increased. This study suggests that like police officers in other countries, Estonian investigators require training in structured interviewing methods to increase the number of invitations and reduce reliance upon option-posing and direct questions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.