Department of Psychology

Short Courses

Interviewing of Child Witnesses and the Detection of Deception

  • Course Type: Short course
  • Mode of delivery: Online, distance learning
  • Duration of course: 12 weeks, 7th January 2019 to 29th March 2019
  • Course Leader: Dr Lucy Akehurst, Principal Lecturer, Department of Psychology
  • Cost: £1283.33
  • Credit: 30 Level M credits
  • Entry requirements: Undergraduate degree or related professional experience

This 12-week online course is ideal for people working with children who are caught up in the legal system (e.g. police officers, social workers, teachers, medical professionals) and also those who are simply interested in eliciting accurate information from children and adolescents.


Six chapters of written materials with mini-lectures and multiple-choice question quizzes are available online for this short course:

  1. Children and Suggestibility
  2. The Step-Wise Interview
  3. The Enhanced Cognitive Interview
  4. The What, When and Why of Children’s Deception
  5. Behavioural Cues to Children’s Truths and Lies
  6. Detecting Children’s Truths and Lies

An extensive reading list is also provided as a starting point for research for the course assessments.


This course aims to:

  • instil an appreciation of the effects of suggestion on children's accounts, 
  • provide a greater appreciation of why certain interviewing methods are recommended, 
  • discuss the importance of witness information for investigations, 
  • evaluate methods used for detecting deception in children and, 
  • outline the problems associated with discerning truths and lies.


Students are asked to; observe and code interviewer behaviour, evaluate the quality of investigative interviews with child witnesses, evaluate objective and subjective cues to deception and critically assess research methodology concerning the detection of deception.

There are two pieces of summative assessment for this short course and each has a linked formative assessment. To achieve 30 Level M credits, both summative assessments must be passed with a mark of 40% or higher.

Formative assessments:

  • Evaluation of an investigative interview with a child. Students use a pro-forma to evaluate an interview and feedback will be given on their utilisation of the evaluation form. This will help them with their summative interview feedback assessment. 
  • Essay plan - feedback will be given on an essay plan to help prepare students for completion of their summative essay assessment.

Summative assessments:

  • Evaluation of an investigative interview and feedback to the interviewer. Students evaluate and provide feedback for a ‘trainee interviewer’ (1500 words).
  • Essay about the myths surrounding deceptive behaviour (2500 words).

Interested candidates should contact in the first instance.

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