Investigative interviewing is a critical and challenging skill involved in the assessment and design of appropriate interventions for children's dietary problems. The current study provided an evaluation of the challenges faced by professional dieticians when conducting child investigative interviews, in the hope that this would provide a framework for the development of further guidance and resources in this important area.
Fourteen professional dieticians were interviewed; they were asked about the information that they needed to elicit from children in particular situations and the questions that they would ask to do so. They were also asked to describe the strengths and limitations of the techniques that they used.
The results revealed that professionals faced three main challenges. The first challenge was eliciting information from children who did not want to answer questions. The second challenge was determining the level of accuracy in children's (and caregivers') responses. The third challenge was eliciting very specific information in particular situations, such as determining the cause of an allergic reaction.
Overall, professionals had difficulty articulating the questions that they would use to elicit the information that they required; indeed, their responses focused more on the content that they wanted to elicit (such as specific details) rather than the overall process that they would use to do so. Professionals may benefit from the development of guidelines to assist them in their interviews with children, based on what is currently known about interviewing children generally.