|Budget Amount *help
¥3,900,000 (Direct Cost: ¥3,900,000)
Fiscal Year 2004: ¥600,000 (Direct Cost: ¥600,000)
Fiscal Year 2003: ¥700,000 (Direct Cost: ¥700,000)
Fiscal Year 2002: ¥700,000 (Direct Cost: ¥700,000)
Fiscal Year 2001: ¥1,900,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,900,000)
Crimes, traffic accidents, street fights and school bullying : There are many occasions where children are involved in and later required to tell what happened. They are typicaly interviewed by adults and in extreme cases, are required to testify before a judge. The aim of this project was to investigate (a) the characteristics of children's account on past events and (b) the characteristics of adults' communication style when asking children on past events, and (c) to set up an interview guideline which could elicit accurate and detailed account from children. In order to achieve these goals, we took three approaches. The fist was to study transcriptions of actual interviews and court testimony. We found the prevalence of closed questions and questions that were characterized as Lawyerese (i.e., complicated grammar, many negatives, embedded sentences, tagged questions, etc.) that were known to hinder children's spontaneous recall. The second was to study the type of questions in general when parents ask their children about past events. Analyses of questions revealed closed questions and what-action questions were dominant but reliance on the questions decreased over children's age. Third, based on the review, of literature as well as on the results from the studies above, we proposed a guideline for interviewing children. The guideline was published not only in academic papers but also in the journals that were read by lawyers. Effectiveness of the guideline was assessed on the basis of actual cases. From these approaches, we believe we have achieved our goals but there are still some questions left. First, because we mostly focused upon adults' questions, children's competence to talk about past events was less elucidated. Secondly, although we set up a guideline, we could not develop an effective training procedure. These are the questions that need to be answered in future.