Persuasive communication

Centre for Language Studies | Faculty of Arts | Radboud University Nijmegen

Guusje Jol

PhD candidate


My research studies police interviews with child-victims of alleged sexual assault. In these interviews, police officers shall comply with many instructions. The instructions mostly aim at avoiding unwanted suggestion and eliciting correct information.

But knowing these instructions is one thing, how they are applied in real interaction is another. The real interview is constructed by both the interviewer and the interviewee; they both act and react locally, in the sequential context of each other’s contributions to the interaction. Compare it to a job interview: even if you are very well prepared, things probably come out differently in the here and now of the real interview. Another reason why applying the instructions can be difficult, is that the instructions can cause interactional dilemma’s, such as the instructions ‘be critical’ and ‘avoid giving feedback’. My project uses conversation analysis to study how police officers apply instructions in the real, sequential context.