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INTERVIEWS

How important is the development of the behavioural norm?

Developing a behavioural norm prior to an interview will help to increase the interviewers understanding of any statement made during the interview.  This is particularly true when an investigator is preparing to conduct an interview utilising the WZ method.  But what is the best way?

Asking simple verification and biographical questions, such as date of birth, national insurance number and address, really does not invite enticing communication, or communication that allows us to listen for those key verbal indicators and watch for key physical indicators.  The key is asking thought provoking questions, rather than simple questions that any subject could regurgitate without any real thought or effort.

The best approach is to start asking questions that entice visual memory, such as chronological questions. Force the subject to think back and retrieve dates. Ask auditory questions about conversations that took place in a morning meeting. Or maybe even ask emotional questions, such as how the subject feels about a current event.

This entices people to communicate more and provide a more accurate behavioural norm prior to conducting the interview and will help in recognising significant changes in behaviour during the interview that may reflect concern and a need for further exploration.

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