How to interview children Essay Example

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How to interview children

Good practice is required to interview children and other vulnerable witnesses. Because adults mostly interview children, they may have trouble in expressing themselves, and therefore, an interviewer has to develop a range of strategies for interviewing them. In essence, a standard, lengthy series of questions and answers may not produce salubrious results when interviewing both adults and children (Hayes, 1997).

As a common practice, when interviewing children, and interviewer must break down the interview into meaningful parts, each with a short introduction, coupled with one-on-one interviews comprising of other kinds of tasks such as, use of puppets, drawing a picture relevant to the topic, and pen-and-paper exercises. The researcher should make young interviewees comfortable by encouraging them to answer whatever they think about the topic without fear of making mistakes (Reed, 2006).

Cards with words or images in them can be useful. In that case, children would be required to sort them out meaningfully and explain their classifications. Blank cards should be included in case the child wants to add something (Faller, 2007). In case of group interviews, children may be requested to talk on a topic in pairs, and thereafter, they can tell one another what they discussed. Mind maps can be used, and then children are invited to present ideas or examples associated with the central topic.

In case the interviewer discovers that children may have trouble siting down, then the children may be provided with a reason to move around during the interview session. In case the researcher is asking questions concerning an object nearby, then it would be wise to ask them to show you the object (Kelley, 2009). At the end of an interview, it is a good practice to provide feedback to the children and ask them if they wish to add or correct anything.


Faller, K. C. (2007). Interviewing children about sexual abuse: controversies and best practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hayes, B. K. (1997). Cognitive Interviewing Procedures And Suggestibility In Children’s Recall.. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(4), 562-577.

Kelley, M. (2009). The Timeline Follow back Interview To Assess Children’s Exposure To Partner Violence: Reliability And Validity. Journal of Family Violence, 24(2), 133- 143.

Reed, L. D. (2006). Findings From Research On Children’s Suggestibility And Implications For Conducting Child Interviews. Child Maltreatment, 1(2), 105-120.