Effects of Cognitive Interviewing, Practice, and Interview Style on Children's Recall Performance in California, 1989-1990 (ICPSR 9789)

Principal Investigator(s): Geiselman, R. Edward; Saywitz, Karen J.; Bornstein, Gail K.


This data collection, designed to improve the quality of children's testimony in court, evaluates how different types of interview formats affect the completeness and accuracy of children's recall performance. Specifically, the study assesses the impact of a "practice interview" about an event on the completeness and accuracy of later reports about a second, unrelated event. Three interview conditions were employed, and each condition consisted of both a practice interview and a target interview. The three conditions were RS, RC, and CC, where "R" represents a practice session with rapport-building only, "S" represents a target interview that contained all components of the standard interview procedure, and "C" represents either a practice or target interview that contained all components of the cognitive interview procedure. In rapport-building sessions, interviewers talked about school activities, family life, and favorite games with the child. In standard and cognitive interview sessions, the rapport-building sessions were followed by a request from the interviewer for the child to verbalize a narrative account of "what happened" during an event that had been previously staged by the experimenter. This narrative account was then followed by the interviewer's request for additional information about the event. Cognitive interviews also included several additional questions that were hypothesized to improve recall performance. The number of correct items recalled and the number of incorrect items generated were used to compare the performance of children in the three interview conditions.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Geiselman, R. Edward, Karen J. Saywitz, and Gail K. Bornstein. EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE INTERVIEWING, PRACTICE, AND INTERVIEW STYLE ON CHILDREN'S RECALL PERFORMANCE IN CALIFORNIA, 1989-1990. ICPSR version. Los Altos, CA: Sociometrics Corporation [producer], 1991. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09789.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09789.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (88-IJ-CX-0033)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    children, courts, court cases, testimony

Geographic Coverage:    California, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1989--1990

Date of Collection:   

  • 1989-01--1990-12

Universe:    All third- and sixth-graders in California.

Data Type(s):    clinical data

Data Collection Notes:

The codebook is provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.


Sample:    Convenience sample of 34 third-graders between the ages of 8 and 9 years, and 56 sixth-graders between the ages of 11 and 12.

Data Source:

personal interviews in a clinical setting


Original ICPSR Release:   1992-10-31

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 1999-12-14 SAS and SPSS data definition statements and a PDF version of the codebook have been added to this collection.

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