Telling It How It Was
A Comparative Analysis of Children's Evidential and Non-Evidential Narrative Accounts
While a number of weaknesses have been identified in children's eyewitness, or evidential narrative accounts (e.g., Aldridge & Wood, 1998; Richardson, 1993; Walker & Warren, 1995), analyses of children's non-evidential narratives indicate that children as young as two years can be competent narrators (e.g., Fivush, Gray & Fromhoff, 1987). A variety of factors might contribute to the child's reported poorer performance in the evidential setting. For example, the interview topic (and associated consequences) is likely to be more stressful, the child is less likely to be familiar with the interview setting and the interviewer, and the child is less likely to be prompted for an answer in the evidential setting. This study examines young children's narrative performance in an evidential and in a non-evidential (experimental) setting to investigate which factors might contribute to differences in narrative performance. Findings suggest that, while children's narrative competence develops with age, situational factors largely account for the differences in performance in children's evidential and non-evidential narratives. However, we do suggest that interviewers could do more to facilitate, in a non-leading fashion, children's evidential narratives. More specifically, we propose that children should be offered a 'second chance' to tell their story before the interviewer moves on to specific questioning.
Published online: 17 April 2000
Cited by 1 other publications
Dion, Jacinthe, Mireille Cyr, Nancy Richard & Pierre McDuff
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