What to say to help one's partners in crime

ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Lorraine Hope
A recommendation of:

Exploring How Members of Illicit Networks Navigate Investigative Interviews


Submission: posted 11 July 2022
Recommendation: posted 28 March 2023, validated 29 March 2023
Cite this recommendation as:
Dienes, Z. (2023) What to say to help one's partners in crime. Peer Community in Registered Reports, 100256. 10.24072/pci.rr.100256

This is a stage 2 based on:

Exploring How Members of Illicit Networks Navigate Investigative Interviews
David A. Neequaye, Pär Anders Granhag, Timothy J. Luke, Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg.


When interviewing members of a criminal network, what determines the information a given interviewee chooses to disclose, as guided by the network's collective planning? What principles could help inform a detective preparing for such interviews? In the current study, Neequaye et al. recruited groups of people known to each other to assume the role of networks that run an illegal sports betting business, fronting as a chain of tanning salons. Although each network launders money, they have to come up with a strategy to convince investigators they are legit. The groups are motivated to disclose some information when individuals are interviewed, but only enough to appear cooperative. Members disclosed information they perceived would yield benefical outcomes, but the extent to which members disclosed varied substantially according to the groups they were in.
The Stage 2 manuscript was evaluated over one round of in-depth review. Based on detailed responses to the reviewers' comments, the recommender judged that the manuscript met the Stage 2 criteria and awarded a positive recommendation.
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol:
Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. Data collection began during the final round of Stage 1 peer review. Since no further revisions were made after this review round, the risk of bias due to prior data observation remained zero, and the manuscript therefore qualified for Level 6.
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
1. Neequaye, D. A., Granhag, P. A. & Luke, T. J. (2023). Exploring How Members of Illicit Networks Navigate Investigative Interviews. Acceptance of Version 3 by Peer Community in Registered Reports.
Conflict of interest:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

Evaluation round #2

DOI or URL of the report:

Version of the report: v1

Author's Reply, 28 Mar 2023

Download tracked changes file

Apologies, Zoltan. I have now edited Table 2 accordingly.



Decision by ORCID_LOGO, posted 28 Mar 2023, validated 28 Mar 2023

Thank you for you revision which has addressed most points. Just one thing. The analysis is set up as a 2X2 but the descriptives e.g. Table 2 present the groups one dimensionally with labels that do not match the IV names explicitly. For ease of relating the analyses to the descriptives, can you set up table 2 as a 2X2 table so it is easy to relate the IVs in the analysis to the descriptives.

Evaluation round #1

DOI or URL of the report:

Author's Reply, 28 Mar 2023

Decision by ORCID_LOGO, posted 13 Mar 2023, validated 13 Mar 2023

First of all many apologies for the extraordinary delay on getting back to you on this mansucript (and your other one - you will hear about that soon). That was my fault for not keeping on top of it. I do have one review back from one of the original reviewers, who makes extensive comments but is very positive about the manuscript.

In dealing with the reviewer's comments, note that the Introduction, Method - and also the Design Table  - should remain the same as Stage 1, except for changes in tense, or anything factually incorrect. You could add footnotes for further clarifications, noting these are Stage 2 additions. In the same way, the material in the Stage 1 "Analysis plan" onwards until the Results should be kept in. This section is vital for indicating the extent to which your non-singificant results count (or rather do not count) against predicted results.

Some further points:

Results: Present descriptives clearly in terms of each cell of low vs high risk by low vs high benefit.

2nd page of Results:

"However, contrary to predictions, the interaction term for risks and benefits was not significant, and the coefficient for risk was significant and negative."

A prediction is about the population states of affairs; here a non-significant interaction does not count against the prediction of the population state of affairs. Also this sentence implies a prediction was about risk; but the test for Risk does not feature in the Design Table. Include in the main results section only those tests you have indicated in the Design Table. The rest can go in a non-pre-registered section.

Similarly for discussion: You should be clear you have no grounds for either saying there was or was not an interaction, so the prediction is neither confirmed nor disconfirmed. So you have not failed to replicate the previous result of an interaction, in the sense you have provided no evidence that there was no interaction.

Reviewed by , 10 Aug 2022

Overall, this manuscript makes an interesting and useful contribution to the literature - both in terms of advancing a novel methodology and exploring a challenging real world problem. I applaud the authors for their initiative in this area - it's a difficult issue to address empirically and certainly not a straightforward area of work. I also appreciate the transparent approach, with a focus on replicability, taken in the work.

The findings open a number of new questions for future research - and these are well-noted in the Discussion. I look forward to seeing how this line of research develops.

All my remaining comments and suggestions are noted in the attached manuscript document (as either comments or edits). The vast majority concern increasing the clarity or precision of the writing. While it's up to the authors whether they take these on board or not, my main purpose in taking the time to provide this kind of feedback is to maximise the potential of this work being accessed by a wider (and meaningful) audience. I hope the authors will view this in the spirit intended.

Thank you for allowing me to interact with this interesting project.

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