Are your investigations uncovering the WHY?

Developing effective interviewing skills could be the key.

Many high reliability organisations have invested heavily in the implementation of a structured incident investigation and analysis process, allowing them to assess the immediate and systemic causal factors for an accident, incident or near miss.  Effective interviews with those directly involved in the event, as well as key witnesses and subject matter experts, are a fundamental piece of evidence to assist in determining not only what went wrong, but why.

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Cognitive interviewing techniques have a strong research and applied evidence base, and have been demonstrated to enhance the interviewer’s capacity to access an involved person’s genuine memory of the event, while avoiding corruption of the information.

Unfortunately, good interviewing skills do not come naturally.  Without training, many highly-skilled, technically-minded personnel struggle with this ‘soft’ side of investigations, in both conducting an effective interview, and knowing how to critically weigh and analyse the information in combination with other objective evidence afterwards.  The good news is that effective interviewing and analysis techniques can be learned.

Staff at The Keil Centre have extensive experience with conducting and teaching cognitive interviewing techniques for safety investigations across a range of organisations.  We can assist with skill development for interview planning, identifying and structuring lines of enquiry, framing effective questions and probing memory codes, working effectively as an interviewing team to maximise the effectiveness of the interview, along with other advanced and proven techniques.

For more information about developing your organisation’s safety investigation interviewing capability, or for support to investigate or analyse incidents, please contact Richard Scaife in UK ( or Nicole Gray in Australia (

Some of our clients include:

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