The effectiveness of information elicitation techniques is the subject of our first Doctoral Thesis Overview – a brand new CREST resource.

Feni Kontogianni's doctoral research on information elicitation techniques

The effectiveness of information elicitation techniques is the subject of our first Doctoral Thesis Overview – a brand new CREST resource.

CREST has produced a new resource, (Doctoral Thesis Overview), designed to summarise and highlight the key findings from our CREST PhD’s theses.

Feni Kontogianni’s doctoral research on information elicitation techniques is the subject of the first brief, which you can download, read and share for free here.

Feni’s research focuses on the topic of “information elicitation in intelligence gathering contexts” and examines factors that enhance recall/reporting performance along with the use of innovative tools and techniques in security contexts.kontogianni-thesis-summary-eliciting-information

Successful investigations in forensic and security contexts depend on eliciting reliable and detailed information from sources. However, memory for past experiences is malleable and often prone to errors of distortion, confabulation and omission.

Although cooperative sources are positively oriented towards reporting what they know, the use of ineffective communication practices and failure to support the retrieval of information from memory can impede the elicitation of a detailed account.

The overarching aim of Feni Kontogianni’s doctoral research was to examine the effectiveness of information elicitation techniques. In particular, elicitation techniques designed to enhance reports concerning multi-actor single and repeated events provided by cooperative sources.

Tested across four experiments, Feni measured the effectiveness of using the self-generated cue mnemonic technique (in conjunction with the timeline technique and follow-up open-ended questions) to facilitate recall and reporting of complex events.

CREST have published the key findings from Feni’s research. This new resource gives an overview of the four experiments as well as how this doctoral research informs techniques for intelligence gathering.

You can download the Doctoral Thesis Overview from the resource page here.

Watch this space as we publish more CREST Doctoral Thesis Overviews in the coming year.

Read more

For further reading, see our guide on the Timeline Technique, as well as Feni Kontogianni’s guide on the Self-Generated Cues Technique.

Self-Generated Cues Technique

This guide, by Feni Kontogianni, explains how self-generated cues can be used at the beginning of a debrief or in an interview with a cooperative interviewee, in conjunction with the Timeline Technique, to prompt the interviewee’s memory about a witnessed single event or a series of repeated events.

Timeline Technique

Based on research by CREST Researcher Professor Lorraine Hope we have written a guide outlining The Timeline Technique. This technique can be used by interviewers to help interviewees by giving them an intuitive way of organising their recall and reporting, which makes it easier to organise their thoughts and reduces demands on working memory. You can download this guide here:


All our resources on Eliciting Information can be found here:

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