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In human-source intelligence, elicitation is an interview technique principally for the acquisition of information from a person or group in a manner that does not disclose the intent of the interview or conversation. It is usually generally overt, unless the collector is other than he or she purports to be. [1] It may have a secondary purpose of preparing the subject for future interviews, not necessarily collecting information of intelligence significance, but to get a sense of the subject as a person, and also to begin a conversational relationship with the interrogator. There is an implication that some skill is required to draw out the desired information. [2]

It is a subset of eduction, which includes debriefing as well as interrogation.[3]

Some techniques may reveal part of the intent, such as the Delphi method for eliciting expert opinion. In a Delphi panel, experts are asked questions in a manner that prevents any individual from dominating the interaction. Those conducting the Delphi study, however, may be looking for information not necessarily explicit in the questions posed to the panel.


  1. U.S. Department of Defense (12 July 2007), Joint Publication 1-02 Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
  2. Educing, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  3. Intelligence Science Board, ed. (December 2006), Educing Information —Interrogation: Science and Art, National Defense Intelligence College Press, ISBN 1-932946-17-9, p. v