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Development of the Reporting Information about Networks and Groups (RING) task: a method for eliciting information from memory about associates, groups, and networks

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/11/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>The Journal of Forensic Practice
Issue number4
Volume21
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)240-247
Publication statusPublished
Early online date5/10/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose
Eliciting detailed and comprehensive information about the structure, organisation and relationships between individuals involved in organised crime gangs, terrorist cells and networks is a challenge in investigations and debriefings. Drawing on memory theory, the purpose of this paper is to develop and test the Reporting Information about Networks and Groups (RING) task, using an innovative piece of information elicitation software.

Design/methodology/approach
Using an experimental methodology analogous to an intelligence gathering context, participants (n=124) were asked to generate a visual representation of the “network” of individuals attending a recent family event using the RING task.

Findings
All participants successfully generated visual representations of the relationships between people attending a remembered social event. The groups or networks represented in the RING task output diagrams also reflected effective use of the software functionality with respect to “describing” the nature of the relationships between individuals.

Practical implications
The authors succeeded in establishing the usability of the RING task software for reporting detailed information about groups of individuals and the relationships between those individuals in a visual format. A number of important limitations and issues for future research to consider are examined.

Originality/value
The RING task is an innovative development to support the elicitation of targeted information about networks of people and the relationships between them. Given the importance of understanding human networks in order to disrupt criminal activity, the RING task may contribute to intelligence gathering and the investigation of organised crime gangs and terrorist cells and networks.

Bibliographic note

This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.