Journal Article

Improving the Quality of Professionals’ Contemporaneous Notes Taken During Interviews about Alleged Child Abuse

Martine B. Powell, Stefanie J. Sharman and Rita T. Cauchi

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 5, issue 4, pages 317-327
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online October 2011 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/par049
Improving the Quality of Professionals’ Contemporaneous Notes Taken During Interviews about Alleged Child Abuse

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The current study explored the effectiveness of note-taking instructions to increase the completeness and accuracy of professionals’ contemporaneous written notes of child abuse interviews. Police members had their base-line note-taking assessed before receiving brief instructions focusing on layout style, abbreviations, and question codes. Participants’ note-taking was reassessed immediately post-instruction and again at follow-up, 4 weeks later. Instructions increased the number of questions that participants recorded and the information that they recorded about question structure. These increases in question information did not occur at the expense of witness response information. Instructions encouraged participants to use more abbreviations and question codes and to use a clearer layout style to differentiate questions and responses. Instructing professionals in simple note-taking strategies immediately increased the completeness and accuracy of their notes. However, electronic recordings remain the most effective method of ensuring complete and accurate interview notes.

Journal Article.  5164 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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