Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews

Tim Grant, Jennifer Taylor, Gavin E. Oxburgh, Gary Pankhurst

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

There is a proliferation of categorization schemes in the scientific literature that have mostly been developed from psychologists’ understanding of the nature of linguistic interactions. This has a led to problems in defining question types used by interviewers. Based on the principle that the overarching purpose of an interview is to elicit information and that questions can function both as actions in their own right and as vehicles for other actions, a Conversational Analysis approach was used to analyse a small number of police interviews. The analysis produced a different categorization of question types and, in particular, the conversational turns fell into two functional types: (i) Topic Initiation Questions and (ii) Topic Facilitation Questions. We argue that forensic interviewing requires a switch of focus from the ‘words’ used by interviewers in question types to the ‘function’ of conversational turns within interviews.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication in investigative and legal contexts
Subtitle of host publicationintegrated approaches from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement
EditorsGavin Oxburgh, Trond Myklebust, Tim Grant, Rebecca Milne
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
Pages39-54
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-118-76913-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-76923-2, 978-1-118-76922-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Publication series

NameSeries in psychology of crime, policing and law
PublisherWiley

Fingerprint

police
interview
technical literature
psychologist
proliferation
linguistics
interaction

Keywords

  • questions
  • linguistic analysis
  • interviews
  • function
  • conversation analysis

Cite this

Grant, T., Taylor, J., Oxburgh, G. E., & Pankhurst, G. (2015). Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews. In G. Oxburgh, T. Myklebust, T. Grant, & R. Milne (Eds.), Communication in investigative and legal contexts: integrated approaches from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement (pp. 39-54). (Series in psychology of crime, policing and law). Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118769133.ch2
Grant, Tim ; Taylor, Jennifer ; Oxburgh, Gavin E. ; Pankhurst, Gary. / Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews. Communication in investigative and legal contexts: integrated approaches from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement. editor / Gavin Oxburgh ; Trond Myklebust ; Tim Grant ; Rebecca Milne. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. pp. 39-54 (Series in psychology of crime, policing and law).
@inbook{9e5b216764c04aeb938d7f8ebbc3eb83,
title = "Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews",
abstract = "There is a proliferation of categorization schemes in the scientific literature that have mostly been developed from psychologists’ understanding of the nature of linguistic interactions. This has a led to problems in defining question types used by interviewers. Based on the principle that the overarching purpose of an interview is to elicit information and that questions can function both as actions in their own right and as vehicles for other actions, a Conversational Analysis approach was used to analyse a small number of police interviews. The analysis produced a different categorization of question types and, in particular, the conversational turns fell into two functional types: (i) Topic Initiation Questions and (ii) Topic Facilitation Questions. We argue that forensic interviewing requires a switch of focus from the ‘words’ used by interviewers in question types to the ‘function’ of conversational turns within interviews.",
keywords = "questions, linguistic analysis, interviews, function, conversation analysis",
author = "Tim Grant and Jennifer Taylor and Oxburgh, {Gavin E.} and Gary Pankhurst",
year = "2015",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1002/9781118769133.ch2",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-1-118-76923-2",
series = "Series in psychology of crime, policing and law",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
pages = "39--54",
editor = "Gavin Oxburgh and Trond Myklebust and Tim Grant and Rebecca Milne",
booktitle = "Communication in investigative and legal contexts",
address = "United States",

}

Grant, T, Taylor, J, Oxburgh, GE & Pankhurst, G 2015, Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews. in G Oxburgh, T Myklebust, T Grant & R Milne (eds), Communication in investigative and legal contexts: integrated approaches from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement. Series in psychology of crime, policing and law, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 39-54. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118769133.ch2

Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews. / Grant, Tim; Taylor, Jennifer; Oxburgh, Gavin E.; Pankhurst, Gary.

Communication in investigative and legal contexts: integrated approaches from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement. ed. / Gavin Oxburgh; Trond Myklebust; Tim Grant; Rebecca Milne. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. p. 39-54 (Series in psychology of crime, policing and law).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

TY - CHAP

T1 - Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews

AU - Grant, Tim

AU - Taylor, Jennifer

AU - Oxburgh, Gavin E.

AU - Pankhurst, Gary

PY - 2015/12

Y1 - 2015/12

N2 - There is a proliferation of categorization schemes in the scientific literature that have mostly been developed from psychologists’ understanding of the nature of linguistic interactions. This has a led to problems in defining question types used by interviewers. Based on the principle that the overarching purpose of an interview is to elicit information and that questions can function both as actions in their own right and as vehicles for other actions, a Conversational Analysis approach was used to analyse a small number of police interviews. The analysis produced a different categorization of question types and, in particular, the conversational turns fell into two functional types: (i) Topic Initiation Questions and (ii) Topic Facilitation Questions. We argue that forensic interviewing requires a switch of focus from the ‘words’ used by interviewers in question types to the ‘function’ of conversational turns within interviews.

AB - There is a proliferation of categorization schemes in the scientific literature that have mostly been developed from psychologists’ understanding of the nature of linguistic interactions. This has a led to problems in defining question types used by interviewers. Based on the principle that the overarching purpose of an interview is to elicit information and that questions can function both as actions in their own right and as vehicles for other actions, a Conversational Analysis approach was used to analyse a small number of police interviews. The analysis produced a different categorization of question types and, in particular, the conversational turns fell into two functional types: (i) Topic Initiation Questions and (ii) Topic Facilitation Questions. We argue that forensic interviewing requires a switch of focus from the ‘words’ used by interviewers in question types to the ‘function’ of conversational turns within interviews.

KW - questions

KW - linguistic analysis

KW - interviews

KW - function

KW - conversation analysis

U2 - 10.1002/9781118769133.ch2

DO - 10.1002/9781118769133.ch2

M3 - Chapter (peer-reviewed)

SN - 978-1-118-76923-2

SN - 978-1-118-76922-5

T3 - Series in psychology of crime, policing and law

SP - 39

EP - 54

BT - Communication in investigative and legal contexts

A2 - Oxburgh, Gavin

A2 - Myklebust, Trond

A2 - Grant, Tim

A2 - Milne, Rebecca

PB - Wiley-Blackwell

ER -

Grant T, Taylor J, Oxburgh GE, Pankhurst G. Exploring types and functions of questions in police interviews. In Oxburgh G, Myklebust T, Grant T, Milne R, editors, Communication in investigative and legal contexts: integrated approaches from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement. Wiley-Blackwell. 2015. p. 39-54. (Series in psychology of crime, policing and law). https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118769133.ch2