The effects of e-simulation interview training on teachers' use of open-ended questions

Sonja P. Brubacher, Martine Powell, Helen Skouteris, Belinda Guadagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Teachers in many parts of the world are mandated reporters of child abuse and maltreatment but very little is known concerning how they question children in suspicious circumstances. Teachers (. n=. 36), who had previously participated in a mock interview scenario designed to characterize their baseline use of various question-types when attempting to elicit sensitive information from children, were given online training in choosing effective questions. They engaged in simulated interviews with a virtual avatar several times in one week and then participated in a mock interview scenario. The amount and proportion of open-ended questions they used increased dramatically after training. The overall number of questions, and amount and proportions of specific and leading questions decreased. In particular, large decreases were observed in more risky yes-no and other forced-choice questions. Given that most teachers may feel the need to ask a child about an ambiguous situation at some point during their careers it is worthwhile to incorporate practice asking effective questions into their training, and the present research suggests that an e-learning format is effective. Additionally, effective questions encourage the development of narrative competence, and we discuss how teachers might include open-ended questions during regular classroom learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse & Neglect
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Identification
  • Interviewing
  • Maltreatment
  • Mandated reporters
  • Teachers

Cite this