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The use of a guided peer review assessment for investigative interviewers of child witnesses

Sonja P. Brubacher (Centre Centre for Investigative Interviewing, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Martine B. Powell (National Childrens’ Advocacy Center, Huntsville, Alabama, USA)
Linda C. Steele (Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University – Geelong Waterfront Campus, Geelong, Australia; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Haymarket, Australia and Work and Learning Research Centre, Middlesex University, London, UK)
David Boud (Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University – Geelong Waterfront Campus, Geelong, Australia; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Haymarket, Australia and Work and Learning Research Centre, Middlesex University, London, UK)

The Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 2050-8794

Article publication date: 3 December 2021

Issue publication date: 1 February 2022

135

Abstract

Purpose

Investigative interviewers assess their colleagues' interviews (‘peer review’) as a necessary part of their practice, and for their self-development. Yet, there is little guidance around what the process involves and how they might do it. Research suggests that effective peer review is supported by using guidance material. The goal of the present work was to describe the use of such a guide by a group of professionals who regularly conduct investigative interviews with children, to share what was learned with other professionals seeking to create a formalized peer review process.

Design/methodology/approach

Sixty US child witness interviewers completed a guided peer review assessment of an anonymous interview, as an assignment at the conclusion of an 18-hour training program that focused on developing their interviewing skills. They consented to the use of their learning data in research, and the research was approved by the university's research ethics board. Peer reviews were coded for the extent to which they used the guide to support their evaluations, and the overall quality of the review to assess the utility of the guide in supporting them to conduct effective assessments.

Findings

In general, the guide and instructions for providing feedback were moderately effective in supporting the peer assessments, but results suggested specific training in how to deliver peer review would be useful.

Practical implications

Through this process, the authors identified components that would be helpful to further increase the efficacy of peer review.

Originality/value

The aim of this work was to spark a greater conversation among practitioners and academics about professionalizing the peer review process and aiding interviewers to develop peer review tools that would support their continued growth. The authors conclude with five key tips for professionals that stem from the experiences creating and evaluating the guide in combination with existing literature and three areas for future investigation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Ethical approval: Ethical approval for this project was given byGriffith University [GU- with Griffith University].Funding: This research was funded in part by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant to DP180100715 to MBP, DB, & SPB.Declaration of Interest Statement: The data for this study arose from a training exercise included in not-for-profit training offered by MBP and SPB to the organization where LCS is employed.

Citation

Brubacher, S.P., Powell, M.B., Steele, L.C. and Boud, D. (2022), "The use of a guided peer review assessment for investigative interviewers of child witnesses", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-07-2021-0040

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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