Towards a New Model of Information Validation: Modeling the Information Validation Process of Police Investigators

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Year of Completion


First Advisor

Stephanie White


This study explores the information validation process of police investigators. The purpose of the research was to create a formal process model of the information validation process of a group of professional investigators. In this study I argue that the existence of such a model will help researchers in various disciplines by providing a baseline to which the validation process of other groups of information seekers can be tested and compared.

The study subjects consisted of 45 police investigators and data was collected using 4 distinct methods including semi-structured interviews, talk aloud sessions, a controlled experiment, and a Joint Application Design (JAD) session. The research culminated in a new process model of the information validation process of police investigators. The study also provides a new research framework for the future study of information validation processes of various groups of information seekers.

Several new discoveries emerging from the study include, but are not limited to, the findings that when validating new information, police investigator’s consider disparities between the behavioral, physical, visual, evidentiary, and potentially audible forms of information surrounding the information source and the investigator’s own personal knowledge base and experiential database. Other discoveries were that police investigators use their knowledge base and experiential database to create a virtual descriptive scenario or pre-disposition of what they expect to find before the validation process begins. They then use an abductive process through a questioning and information exchange process to test the details of their own scenario moving towards the best possible explanation of their observation.

In summary the study provides a new model of information validation illustrating the entities, processes, and decisions that comprise the process as well as the relationships, inter-dependencies, and constraints that govern it. Using professional investigators as study subjects provides merit to the model as a baseline or foundation to which we can now begin to study and compare the information validation process of other information seekers to the new