Introduction to Investigative Interview (P.E.A.C.E.) for Private Investigators

An investigator’s bread and butter is their ability to gather information. Conducting an effective interview is integral to the information-gathering process. A good interview should yield accurate and reliable information for the investigator.

Investigative interviews can be formal or personal in tone. This course will discuss the benefits of a personal and well-thought-out method of conducting an interview. 

Purpose and Goals of Success Interview Techniques for the Private Investigator

The purpose of this course is to explore effective methods of conducting investigative interviews. This course will focus specifically on the P.E.A.C.E. model of conducting an investigative interview. 

The P.E.A.C.E. model encourages interviewers to be open-minded, fair, and to avoid accusatory remarks. An investigative interview benefits from avoiding hostile interactions and “forcing” information from the individual being interviewed. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the elements of the P.E.A.C.E. model of conducting an investigative interview. 
  2. Understand how to plan and conduct an interview based on the P.E.A.C.E. model.
  3. Evaluate the efficacy of investigative interview techniques used in the P.E.A.C.E. model.


  1. Interrogation or interview. What are the immediate associations made with the word interview? What are the immediate associations made with the word interrogation? Why might an individual be more cooperative while being interviewed rather than interrogated?

The Purpose of an Investigative Interview

  1. An investigative interview aims to obtain information and establish facts about an ongoing investigation. Before conducting an interview, an investigator must think about the goals of interviewing the witness. This is not to say that the interviewer should attempt to force a narrative from an interview. Instead, consider the effect the witness testimony will have on existing information. Will the testimony corroborate what is already known? Or will it disprove an already existing theory?

Basic Interview Skills

  1. Persistence. Make sure to persist if there is more information to be uncovered or believe the interviewee to be lying or mistaken. Be sure not to badger the interviewee with belabored or repetitive questions.
  2. Assumption. Remain objective and avoid confirmation bias during the interview. Impartial investigators should avoid preconceived notions during the interview. 
  3. Reliance on memory. Neither the interviewer nor the interviewee has perfect recall. The interviewer must rely on a tried and tested note-taking technique and ask questions that aid the interviewee’s recall.
  4. Ask open-ended questions. Begin with open-ended questions to elicit open answers. Open answers will be less restricted and more elaborate. Using that open-ended response, drill down into probing questions (who, what, when, where, why).

The P.E.A.C.E. Model

  1. Preparation and Planning. 
    1. Review your case
  2. Engage and Explain.
    1. Establish objectives.
    2. Expectations
    3. Build rapport
  3. Account, Clarification, Challenge.
    1. Free recall model. Ask open-ended questions and allow the interviewee to give an uninterrupted, comprehensive account of an event.
    2. Ask probing questions. Follow-up with questions that enhance the interviewee’s account of an event.
  4. Closure.
    1. Review objectives. 
    2. Provide a summary of the interview.
    3. Allow the interviewee to ask questions.
    4. Conclude interview.
  5. Evaluation.
    1. Review new information and evidence. 
    2. Plan new actions based on new information.
    3. Review interview process. Ask yourself what worked about the interview and what did not. What can be improved or changed for future interviews?

Course Information

Adult Education Methods Utilized

  • Sample interviews
  • Downloadable presentations and handouts
  • Case studies

Course Requirements

  • Internet connection (DSL, LAN, or cable connection desirable)
  • Access to the internet
  • Students should be able to use a personal computer

Course Offerings

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 60-day unlimited course access

Course Structure

This course will be delivered entirely online through the website.  Participants will use website credentials to log in and access their accounts.  Participants will access online lessons, course materials, and resources.  The course will be broken down into modules for self-paced learning.  Access to the course is limited to 60 days.  Following the completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of completion for Continuing Education Credits and licensing renewal. 

*Make sure this course is approved by your state for licensing renewal.

  • This course will be delivered online through a course management website named
  • To access this course online, you will need to access the Internet and a supported Web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

Technical Assistance

If you require technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem: