An analysis of question style and type in official Finnish asylum interview transcripts

Jenny Skrifvars*, Julia Korkman, Veronica Sui, Tanja van Veldhuizen, Jan Antfolk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Interviews with asylum seekers are an important part of investigating the applicant's need of international protection. Few studies have examined if the questions used in interviews allow detailed and accurate narratives. In the current study, we analysed question style, question type, and question order from interviews of 80 official asylum cases realised by Finnish state authorities in 2017–2018. In accordance with best practise, questions were predominantly asked in an information-gathering style. However, four-fifths of the questions were closed questions, and one-tenth were open questions. The recommended question order was followed to a small degree. Possibilities on how to improve the quantity and the accuracy of the information elicited from the interviews are discussed. Future research should assess which type of questions that are most efficient in eliciting relevant information within the asylum context as well as investigating the accuracy of the interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-348
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Issue number3
Early online date6 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


This research was supported a by grant from Sundell's Foundation to the second author (JK) and a grant (decision number: 151173) from The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland to the last author (JA).

FundersFunder number
Sundell's Foundation
Svenska Kulturfonden151173


    • asylum application
    • asylum seeker
    • investigative interviewing
    • question style
    • question type


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