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"Standard Procedure"

One of the most useful way of eliciting speech samples involves a procedure that enables the clinician or researcher to compare the content analysis scores obtained from the same individual at different times or across persons. This method also has available norms for children and adults, males and females. This approach elicits speech samples by using purposely ambiguous standardized instructions simulating a projective test situations as follows:

"This is a study of speaking and conversation habits. I would like you to talk for five minutes about any personal interesting or dramatic life experiences you have ever had. If you finish telling about one life event, you can continue on telling about another one until the five minutes is over. While you are talking I would prefer not to reply to any questions you have until the five minutes is over. If you have any questions now, I will be happy to response to them now."

The subject may possibly respond he does not know what will be "interesting or dramatic" to the interviewer, and the interviewer can respond to this in a noncommittal fashion by saying he does not have to be concerned about what might be "interesting or dramatic" to the interviewer, but only what he finds "interesting or dramatic." Although speakers, on the average, produce around 500 words in five minutes, some speakers are unable to produce this quantity. As mentioned earlier, a verbal sample of 85-90 words has been demonstrated to be a reliable sample.

Users should note that since this neutral probe and five-minute sample protocol was used to elicit the samples that form the basis for the scoring norms, comparisons to the norms may not be valid for samples collected using a different collection protocol.

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