Call for Contributions

The Dictionary of Police Interviewing and Interrogation

Call for academics and police officers to join an international collaborative research project

“We don’t interrogate any more, we interview”.

In the last 25 years our understanding of how to question suspects in criminal investigations has grown from a handful of how-to manuals, a few government reports, and a scientific literature that could be read in a single afternoon, to an extensive and impressive body of work that is starting to ask: has the practise of questioning suspects started to become a science?

In order to fully progress to scientific status, it is essential that terminology is used consistently. To date the terminology used to describe the core components of questioning, the tactics and styles, has taken a largely cavalier approach, with researchers and practitioners using different terms to describe similar practices, and sometimes the same term to describe quite different practices. These inconsistencies often reflect a lack of awareness of practices in other countries, as well as a profoundly limited awareness of the history of investigative practices. Across regions and generations, the errors and successes from other places and times, are endlessly replayed, forgotten and replayed again.

It is in order to prevent such cross-regional and cross-generational loss of information, and to progress the science of police interviewing, that The Dictionary of Police Interviewing and Interrogation, has been conceived. Following an extensive review of the international and historical literature on police interviewing, as well as the interviewing practices of other investigative agencies such as the military, a preliminary list of over 300 interviewing terms has been created.

The first aim of the dictionary is to provide definitions of police questioning tactics and styles. The second aim is to collate materials demonstrating both the successes and failures of each type of police interviewing tactics and practices.

Both academics and police officers are invited to contribute materials for the dictionary. These can take the form of either definitions of interviewing tactics, or through the provision of de-identified (and non-restricted) transcripts of interviews with criminal suspects, highlighting the use of specific interviewing tactics.

All materials used in the dictionary will acknowledge the contributing author(s). It is intended that contents of The Dictionary of Police Interviewing and Interrogation will initially be made available online and then in a book.

For further information about this project, and details of how to contribute, please contact Associate Professor Stephen Moston, Department of Psychology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia 4811. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.