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The Self-Administered Witness Interview Tool (SAW-IT): Enhancing witness recall of workplace incidents

MacLean, Carla; Gabbert, Fiona and Hope, Lorraine. 2019. The Self-Administered Witness Interview Tool (SAW-IT): Enhancing witness recall of workplace incidents. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33(6), pp. 1212-1223. ISSN 0888-4080 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Given the often crucial role of witness evidence in Occupational Health and Safety investigation, statements should be obtained as soon as possible after an incident using best practice methods. The present research systematically tested the efficacy of a novel Self-Administered Witness Interview Tool (SAW-IT); an adapted version of the Self-Administered Interview (SAI©) designed to elicit comprehensive information from witnesses to industrial events. The present study also examined whether completing the SAW-IT mitigated the effect of schematic processing on witness recall. Results indicate that the SAW-IT elicited significantly more correct details, as well as more precise information than a traditional incident report form. Neither the traditional report from, nor the SAW-IT mitigated against biasing effects of contextual information about a worker’s safety history, confirming that witnesses should be shielded from extraneous post-event information prior to reporting. Importantly, these results demonstrate that the SAW-IT can enhance the quality of witness reports.

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Additional Information:

"This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: The Self-Administered Witness Interview Tool (SAW-IT): Enhancing witness recall of workplace incidents, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."


cognitive bias, workplace incident investigation, Self-Administered Interview, eyewitness memory, incident report form

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit


6 May 2019Accepted
11 May 2019Published Online
November 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

29 May 2019 11:53

Last Modified:

04 Dec 2019 13:22

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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