Witness Statement Tutorial

2004 by Starline Software Ltd.


This tutorial shows you how to use INVESTIGATION CATALYST tools to transform data from a sample witness statement into Event Blocks, display the EBs on a Matrix, and then use the Matrix to help you pinpoint data to acquire from witnesses.

Users should review the brief General Guidance for this Tutorial before proceeding.

NOTE: Remember, the goal is help witness provide relevant Event Blocks (EBs) for building Matrixes.

This Tutorial involves five main steps:

Step 1. Incident Familiarization.

Click here to read the statement and print it or copy it to a word processor. As you read it, try to visualize what witness reports.

After reading the statement, refer to the sketch of the accident site for an overview of accident scene for help with visualization task. You may want to reread the statement after you see the sketch.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q 1-1.What is familiarization? When will I know if I am familiar enough with the scenario to proceed to the next step?
Familiarization is achieved when you have a general idea about what happened, who and what was involved, and how that information is presented in the document, so you can begin to make a mental movie with that data.

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Step 2. Mark up Document . Mark the printed or word processor witness statement to show the actions.

Remember: you are looking for Event Blocks. They may not be obvious.

Look for every word or phrase that describes or implies an action in Brown's report. Put sequential numbers in parentheses above (on printed document) or behind any (in digitized document) that you find.

After you mark up your Statement, refer to the 'school solution' and compare it with your mark up. If you see any differences, view the analysis describing each action in the statement, and why it was selected.

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Step 3. List event blocks Next, transform the actions marked in the Statement as Event Blocks

a. Review the Statement. The first time, focus only on actions that Brown said he did. On a full sheet of paper make two columns. Start by listing each action by Brown that you find, with its number. Use the Event Block actor + action format. Put explicitly stated actions at the top of left column, and inferred actions below those actions.

b. Then review the Statement again, and make a second list of every reported or implied action, by Brown or any other person or object. List these actions in the right column, formatted like the first list, with the explicitly stated actions listed first, and the inferred actions listed below the explicit actions.

If you have any questions, see the FAQ below. If you can not find your answer there, contact Starline Support.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q 3-1. Do I need to mark up the Statement and make a list?
For this Tutorial, yes. When you get used to working this way, you will find yourself entering data directly from the document into the Event Block panel in INVESTIGATION CATALYST. Until you are used to thinking about and transforming data in documents directly into the EB format, noting the actions on a document is helpful, because you gain a working knowledge of the many ways actions are expressed, and your work and decisions can be reviewed readily. If you can work with a word processor, making a list of actions is a good way to speed up data entry, but it is good practice to note where to find the source with some reference to a location in the source document, as is shown in the example accompanying this Tutorial.

Q 3-2. How do I recognize an inferred or implied action?
Look for specific clues.

a. the Passive Voice clue. When you see the word "was" or "were" look for an underlying action. Example: "wing was deformed" infers that someone or something deformed the wing.

b. The Changed State clue. When you observe words indicating a change of state from a prior state, look for action(s) which produced the new state. Examples: tire skid mark on runway 18 infers that something - a tire or runway? - did something to produce the skid mark on the runway 18. The description of the skid mark infers that the aircraft or tire did something else before they came to rest in the dirt pile.

c. The Mental action clue. Some word combinations infer that someone or something was involved in a mental act. Example: "His estimated speed.." infers that someone estimated the aircraft speed at some point in time.

Q 3-3. How do I handle confused or multiple names in a document?
Use whatever document says. Don't try to fix the writer's problems. The Statement Commentary will help.

Q 3-4. How do I deal with "did nots" in the document?
You will probably have to dig a little deeper to infer what the actor did at that time. Alternatively, indicate "actor ?" to flag the point, and record and store the source information until you can analyze it further.

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Step 4. Compare your results.

After completing your list or markup of the statement, compare your list or markup with the "School Solution." Don't peek before you have finished your list!.

After you compare the results, feel free consult the General Guidance page to see an explanation for each of the EBs on the School Solution list. The EBs listed there correspond to those listed.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q 4-1. What if my list is different than the school solution?
2 points. Try to understand the reason for the difference; often it will be because you did not follow a rule. If you want a further explanation of any of the items on the list can be found in the Statement Commentary, which can be accessed from the School Solution. Then, If you think your are right and the school solution is wrong, feel free to contact Starline support before you get into undesirable habits.

Step 5. Organize EBs in Statement.

After you have compared your results with the Tutorial list, create an INVESTIGATION CATALYST Matrix using the data from the Tutorial list.

Proceed to Create Statement Matrix

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