Self-Administered Interview is an investigative tool that is used in various events in the society to get initial comments from the witnesses after a crucial event has taken place. The tool helps in identifying the events that took place in a clear manner therefore it requires that it is carried out immediately after any crucial incident has taken place (Gawrylowicz, 2014). It is mostly used on the occasions when there are limited resources which make it impossible to carry out the traditional form of interview. The main importance of the self-administered interview is to enable the witnesses record the occurrences when their memory is still fresh on the matter and this ensures that they do not forget hence they record what has happened in a clear manner. Additionally, the self-administered interview (SAI) ensures that the occurrences of the post-events activities do not interfere with the memory of the witnesses.
SAI is a common investigative tool in the modern society and various authors have engaged in its discussion and have analyzed its importance. As Gabbert (2012) claims, SAI, helps various organizations and institutions in their investigations in order to get the facts right from the start and this helps in the possibilities of misconceptions about the occurrences in the society. Gabbert, notes that police and medical incidents, insurance investigations and industrial accidents gain a lot from SAI since it helps in confirming the credibility of such investigations. According to Ruzek (2012), the efficacy of SAI is evident in a number of ways. One of the ways is that it minimizes delay and which helps in minimizing decay. In this light, SAI helps in minimizing the delay for carrying out the investigations and which limits decay of information.
Ruzek proceed to explain that providing preliminary opportunity for the witnesses to explain the occurrences of the events helps to minimize delay and which helps in preventing memory decay. This is because when witnesses attempts to recall the critical events, there is great possibility that they will remember what took place and this limits the possibility of forgetting. Jones (2012) confirms the idea of Ruzek and says that minimizing delay helps in improving the level of retrieval and this ensures that there is greater activation level of the items that contains information in the memory. This helps in bringing a correlation between items of information; this aids in strengthening the representation of items in the memory and helps in the degree to which they interconnect with one another to form an integrated episodic trace. This increase the chances of remembering the story as it took place in a systematic manner.
Another benefit of SAI according to Vogel (2012) is that it helps in minimizing the effects of post event investigation (PEI). This is because after an event has taken place, there is a very high probability that numerous investigation leads to the loss of crucial information and the witnesses might forget after engaging in a number of interviews. SAI therefore helps in offering protection against misleading PEI. The PEI might involve misleading questions and this makes the witnesses to deviate from the facts about the occurrences of the events. Another effectiveness of the SAI is that it helps the witnesses in explaining their story. This is because the SAI finds the witnesses at the scene and this helps in creating a vivid picture in the minds of the witnesses. This also the investigation teams to improve their understanding about the events that took place.
Hope (2011) relates the benefits of resource requirement when conducting SAI and notes that SAI minimizes on the resource requirement when conducting the investigation. The limiting on police resources in investigations involving accidents ensure that SAI becomes generally possible even without many preparations. Vogel also notes another advantage of SAI in the modern society and proves that it helps in creating a video of the occurrences in the minds of the witnesses. This therefore helps in creating the most accurate and complete occurrences and this makes recording to be easier, this also reduces the workload for the investigators hence minimizes on times spent during investigations. Additionally, SAI helps in giving an opportunity to the witnesses to give detailed descriptions about the people involved in the involved by using vivid descriptors such as the physical appearance of the people involved in the events under investigations.
The SAI also offers an opportunity to the witnesses to draw sketches of the scenes in order to aid in remembering of the events that took place. This helps to consolidate memory that aids in the formation of memory for spatial information. The sketches aid both the witnesses and the investigators. This is because it aids the witnesses to recall the order of activities and at the same time it helps the investigation teams to create a vivid mental picture to understand the order of events. As Maras (2014) notes, the SAI also gives the witnesses the opportunity to identify other witnesses. This helps in increasing the numbers of witnesses and the enables in comparing the views of different witnesses to capture the facts about the events under investigation. By comparing the views of different witnesses, the investigations teams are more likely to capture the true occurrences at the scene.
Gawrylowicz (2014) also gives his ideas about the efficacy of SAI and states that SAI helps in prompting witnesses with questions that may not be spontaneously reported. The fact that the investigation teams have the opportunity to prompt the witnesses with questions gives the witnesses less time to prepare to answer the question and there is likelihood that their responses are most likely the truth. This is because they would have limited time to lie if in any case they planned to. This proves that the responses from the witnesses in the SAI are the truth since they give genuine answers. Additionally, af Hjelmsater (2012) confirms that the witnesses have an ample time to give extra information and that would be of much importance to the investigation teams. Additionally, the unofficial investigation between witnesses and the investigators creates a friendly investigative environment and this increases the degree of trust between the witnesses and the investigators. The witnesses therefore give the most credible information concerning investigations.
SAI has various benefits to the society and the various investigations appreciate its impact and importance in the society. The society should therefore carry out studies and research works in order to improve the benefits of the study and tackle the challenges facing the mode of investigation in the modern society. Additionally, studies confirm that the importance of SAI increases as the ages of the witnesses decrease and it is very beneficial in conducting interviews involving the children in the society (Maras, 2014). This is because the less degree of recalling that the children have. The importance of SAI in modern day investigations and the society should encourage its application in judicial cases so as to aid in effecting justice to the people involved.
af Hjelmsater, E. R., Stromwall, L. A., & Granhag, P. A. (2012). The Self-Administered Interview: a means of improving children's eyewitness performance?. Psychology, Crime & Law, 18(10), 897-911.
Gabbert, F., Hope, L., Fisher, R. P., & Jamieson, K. (2012). Protecting against misleading postevent information with a selfadministered interview. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(4), 568-575.Gawrylowicz, J., Memon, A., Scoboria, A., Hope, L., & Gabbert, F. (2014). Enhancing older adults eyewitness memory for present and future events with the Self-Administered Interview. Psychology and aging, 29(4), 885.Hope, L., Gabbert, F., & Fisher, R. P. (2011). From laboratory to the street: capturing witness memory using the selfadministered interview. Legal and criminological psychology, 16(2), 211-226.Jones, M. K., Harris, L., & Vaccaro, L. D. (2012). The efficacy of self-administered danger ideation reduction therapy for a 50-year old woman with a 20 year history of obsessivecompulsive disorder: A case study. International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 8-13.
Maras, K. L., Mulcahy, S., Memon, A., Picariello, F., & Bowler, D. M. (2014). Evaluating the Effectiveness of the SelfAdministered Interview(c) for Witnesses with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28(5), 693-701.Ruzek, J. I., Rosen, R. C., Marceau, L., Larson, M. J., Garvert, D. W., Smith, L., & Stoddard, A. (2012). Online self-administered training for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment providers: design and methods for a randomized, prospective intervention study. Implementation Science, 7(1), 1-14.
Vogel, T. J., Stoops, K., Bennett, R. L., Miller, M., & Swisher, E. M. (2012). A self-administered family history questionnaire improves identification of women who warrant referral to genetic counseling for hereditary cancer risk. Gynecologic oncology, 125(3), 693-698.
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