Examining the efficacy of a digital version of the Self-Administered Interview

Gabbert, Fiona; Hope, Lorraine; Horry, Ruth; Drain, Tyler and Hughes, Chelsea. 2022. Examining the efficacy of a digital version of the Self-Administered Interview. Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 5, 100159. ISSN 2451-9588 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Objectives. The Self-Administered Interview (SAI©) is an investigative tool designed to facilitate the reporting of comprehensive initial statements by witnesses. Given increasing use of technology to communicate, many witnesses may prefer to provide investigators with accounts of what they have seen using online or mobile reporting platforms. Research shows that the SAI© elicits more accurate information from witnesses than other reporting formats. To date, however, the SAI© has only been tested in a paper-based format. The aim of the current research was to examine whether the benefits of the SAI© for witness reporting extend to digital reporting formats.

Method: In two experiments, we examined whether completing the SAI© on a computer or mobile device (as opposed to using a paper-based format) had any effect on the quantity or quality of information reported by mock witnesses. We also assessed whether the format of the initial report had any impact on performance in a delayed recall test.

Hypotheses. Based on available research on use of technology, we expected that witness accounts would be shorter when provided via mobile devices than via other formats. Drawing on past research outlined in the Introduction, we predicted that less detailed initial accounts would affect the quality of subsequent accounts.

Results. We found no differences between computer, mobile, or paper-based formats with respect to the quantity or quality of information reported in the SAI© or content of follow-up reports collected oneweek later.

Conclusion. The findings suggest that administering the SAI© in online or mobile formats is unlikely to be detrimental to witness reporting. Given the time and resource costs associated with paper forms, as well as the additional functionality that digital presentation may afford, a digital SAI© may prove to be a useful investigative tool.

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Additional Information:

Fiona Gabbert and Lorraine Hope's work in writing this article was part funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (ESRC Award: ES/N009614/1). Data collection for Experiment 2 was funded by an award from the Cherish Digital Economy Centre at Swansea University (Award number 49C).

Materials, Datasets, and Supplementary Analyses are available
on the OSF project page: https://osf.io/h7rqd/?view_only=e790ffa8373e401bb81cc3a96e1b19fe

This is a PDF file of an article that has undergone enhancements after acceptance, such as the addition of a cover page and metadata, and formatting for readability, but it is not yet the definitive version of record. This version will undergo additional copyediting, typesetting and review before it is published in its final form, but Elsevier are providing this version to give early visibility of the article. Please note that, during the production process, errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.


Self-Administered Interview, Computer, Mobile device, Digital, Information elicitation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit


24 November 2021Accepted
30 November 2021Published Online
March 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

01 Dec 2021 09:46

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2021 10:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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