Saturday, February 13, 2010


Beginning an answer to a direct question with the word well indicates that the person responding is going to provide an answer that the person who asked the question is not expecting. For example:

PARENT: Did you brush your teeth?

The child knows the parent expects the answer, “Yes.” Since the child did not brush his teeth, he knows he cannot provide the expected “Yes” answer, so he begins his response with the word well.

CHILD: Well…

PARENT: Go brush your teeth.

Interviewers should allow interviewees to complete their answers to prevent them from discovering this technique and altering their subsequent responses.

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