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Interview and Interrogation Training: Question Formulation for Fact Gathering

WZ / IAI Interviewing Tip of the Week: Question Formulation for Fact Gathering

This week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Chris Norris, CFI, director of WZ Europe and international training, talking about fact-gathering interviews and their structure.

What’s really important when it comes to fact-gathering interviews is an understanding of question formulation. It’s necessary to understand when to ask an open-ended, expansion, closed-ended, enticement, assumptive, or even echo question.

In fact-gathering interviews, we begin that interview with an open-ended question that invites a narrative from our subject. We simply say something like, “Can you tell me what happened Saturday night?”

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The subject’s response, then, provides an uninterrupted, untainted version of that story. Once we’ve captured their version of the story, we’re able to begin to fragment the original story and expand on it to fill in the blanks and understand how accurate the information provided is. You can seek confirming information or challenge the information that came forward.

One of the things that we are confused by from time to time when it comes to fact gathering is when we just keep asking, “Then what?” “Then what?” “Then what?”

What’s very important from an interviewer’s perspective is to ask a good open-ended question to allow the subject’s version to come forward before we start filling in the blanks with the “Then what?” sorts of questions.


LP Solutions

The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.

By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement, loss prevention, security, asset protection, human resources, auditors, or anyone looking to obtain the truth.

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