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The difference between interviewing & interrogation

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    Interviewing  &   interrogation – two  forms  of   probing  are  the  powerful  tools  that  are  used  to  delve  into  matters  of  immense  consideration.  However, there are fine distinctions between viability of the two.

    Interrogation  is  an  inquiry or  examination  that  is  meant  to  evoke,  debrief  or   elicit certain  unknown  or  hidden  facts  that  are  meant to  be  brought  to  the  limelight. It  is  said  that  this  technique of  information  gathering  is  usually  used  by  police, military &  intelligence agencies. On  the  other  hand  interview  is  a sort  of  research,  a studious  inquiry  aimed  at  a discovery of  something  innate  that  an  interviewer  aspires to obtain  from  the  interviewee  through  a professional  conduct.

     Conversely,  it  should  be  noted  that  all  interviews  are  sorts  of interrogations  whereas  all  interrogations  are  not  interviews. Nevertheless,  all  of  us  ranging  from  different  age – groups  undergo  some  sort  of  inquiry in every  aspect  of   our  life  but  not  everyone  goes through  interviews  with  such a  frequency. A teenager  interrogated  by his  parents  on  reaching  home  late  night, he  is  questioned  by  his  subject  teachers  on  not meeting  assignment  deadlines.  Same child  is  inquired  by  friends  on  not  attending  a  birthday  party.  These are all forms of interrogations that the child encountered.  However, If   the  same  guy  receives  a  call  for  a  high school admission  interview  that  is  another  separate  professional  &  purposeful  entity  than  mere  probing.  Hence we  establish  that  both  forms  of  communication  devices  vary  in  forms  &  intensity. Now  we  shall  look  at  basic  differences   between  the  two  modes  of  inspection( Gordon & Fleisher,2006). Interviews   are   usually formal &   interrogations are both formal & informal.

    1. Interrogations  may  turn  wild  sometimes,  in case  of  torture  the  interrogator  may  use  even  unethical  means  to  generate  results whereas ethical  imperatives  &  constraints  highly  weigh  in  interviews.
    2. Interviews  are  conducted  in  controlled  cordial  settings  but  investigations  have  no  such  limits  always(Kvale & Brinkmann,2008).
    3. Generally  people  can evade  interrogations  but  interviews  are  set  with  the  consensus  of   the  subjects.

    Interrogation  in  the  criminal  context   is  an  art  &  the  interrogator  must  learn  melodramatic  skills. Here several other factors need to be considered as well.  As  in,  the  investigator  must  learn  to  swap  his roles  cause  his  suspects  may  range  from  different age groups  &  professions. They may be lawyers, doctors, housewives or juvenile delinquents. Hence,  the  investigator  may  be  able  to  obtain  desired  confessions  from  suspects creating  a comfort  zone  &  rapport. It is important to perform the task in a small controlled, sound-insulated room void of distractions.  Interrogators  must  avoid  rooms  that have  clocks,  telephones,  intercoms etc, cause  those  can  cause  distractions  to  both  people  involved  in  the  process. To psychologically  trap  such  subjects  using  all  possible techniques  we  must  consider  subject’s verbal & non-verbal gestures  as  well.  In  this  case  creating  an  eye- contact  is  also  mandatory.  It  provides  an  insight  if  interrogator  can  read faces  &  eye  movements(Kvale & Brinkmann,2008).

    Besides,  interrogator  must  have  a  documented  form  of  the  case  he  is  investigating,  to  consult  the  papers  for  information  about  the  case as  well as  subject’s  background.  He  must  also  jot  down  the  key  facts  or  results  being  obtained  from  the  process. Apart  from  inquiring  &  probing there  must  be  argumentative  points  on  which  to  counter  question. In  order  to  create  such  argumentative  modes  the  interrogator  should  be  analytical  enough  to  gauge  critical  facts  or  confessions  on  whom  further  line  of reason can  be built.

    A  specific  time frame  should  be  allotted   to  the  whole  process  in  order  to make  it  comprehensive  &  well-built. In  the  end,  the  investigator  must  understand  the  fact  that  even  after  such  prudent  &  thorough  investigations  some  questions  would  still remain  unanswered,  which  can  be  catered  or  further  worked  upon  as  the  whole  interrogatory  process  is  based  on  trial  &  error  method.

    In  recent  trends  criminal  interrogations  have  become  infamous  &  have  taken  very  brutally  harsh  forms,  defying  the  true  spirit  of  investigations. Partly,  because  of  the  tactics  adopted  in  the  name  of enhanced  interrogation  techniques  or  alternative  set  of  procedures,   the  phrase  assumed  by   the George W. Bush administration in  the  United States to  describe  interrogation   methods  used  by US military  intelligence  and  the  Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)  to  extract  information  from  individuals  captured  in  the  war  on terror  soon  after  the  September  11 attacks  in  2001(Alexander & Bruning, 200).

    Stories  continue  to  be  concocted  explaining the  real  face  of  tactics  which  can  be  termed  as  even  torture.  I  feel  skeptic  about  adding  the  mental  tortures  in  the  category  of  any  sort  of  investigations. However,  places  like  Guantanamo  bay  sound  synonymous  to  torture  cells  where  criminals  are  tormented  to  the  utmost  degree  leaving  numerous  innocents  mentally  upset  as  a   result.

    To   recapitulate, both tools have  their own  pros &  cons with  varying  intensity levels. It   is  up to  the  researcher  or  seeker  of   the  truth  to  deploy  a  method  which  can  bring  forward  the  best  possible  results, for  both  are meant  to  clear  doubts  &  obtain  apparent repercussions.


    1. Alexander, M. & Bruning, J.(2008). How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq. Free Press
    2. Gordon, N.J. & Fleisher, W.L.(2006). Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques. Academic Press
    3. Kvale, S. & Brinkmann, S.(2008). Interviews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Sage Publications


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