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Interview Practices for Title IX Investigators

October 30, 2019

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition says that certain recommended interviewing skills for investigators in sexual harassment cases align with evidence-based practices but that other suggested techniques are at odds with the existing research. Additional interviewing practices related to memory and credibility are "critically absent" from commonly recommended practices, the paper says. The study includes additional suggestions for interviewers in sexual misconduct cases that the authors argue are more likely to improve the "development of rapport and cooperation" with an interviewee, to elicit more accurate and relevant information from memory, and to "enhance assessments of credibility when applying strategic questioning approaches."

Co-author Adrienne Lyles, associate director of equal opportunity and senior deputy coordinator at Iowa State University for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits gender discrimination, said in a statement, "We're trying to create some standards for good investigative practice." As investigators, "we are neutral fact-finders. We do not advocate for any party. It is our job to be impartial and unbiased. It is important that the process not advantage or disadvantage any party."


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