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How to Write an Investigation Report

Report writing


To write a good investigation document, you need to understand how to present information efficiently and clearly. Below, you will find a detailed description of the types and formats of investigation reports, as well as writing tips and useful samples.

What Is an Investigation Report

According to a generally accepted investigation report definition, it is a well-structured text that includes the findings and evidence of a specific formal complaint or allegation. An investigator writes this report to inform a concerned party about a particular incident that has happened and possible steps that can be taken. Investigation reports are usually submitted after the receipt of a formal complaint and serve to define whether there is solid ground for inquiring into the allegation mentioned.

An investigation report can be prepared by an authorized person from the company where an incident has happened or detectives (private or from the police). Such papers are stored in archives. They can be retrieved if any information on the case is required. The size and scope of an investigation report vary depending on the kind of allegation or the complexity of the case studied. However, there are some must-have elements that you have to include in your document.

Video Guide on How to Write an Investigation Report

If you want to find out how to write an investigation report, you are welcome to watch this video guide. The expert on the video dwells on how to write a high-quality report even if you are going to do it for the first time. You will learn about common mistakes that may arise in the process of preparing the text, techniques for arranging collected data, as well as some spelling and punctuation guides.

Investigation Report Format

When you get down to investigative report writing, you should first figure out what elements your text will consist of. Though there are no strict rules concerning the structure, because the number of components depends on the size and type of a report, most documents include some of the elements mentioned below.

  • An investigation report usually starts with a cover page where you should present all the relevant case data in a concise way. Make sure to indicate a case number, date, place where the incident happened, and contact information of the people involved. When dealing with employee cases resolved within a company, it is necessary to include an employee’s name, ID number, job code, email address, and other identifying details.
  • An investigation summary is the core element of the entire document. People studying the case would probably pay the most attention to this part. You need to provide an in-depth description of the complaint or allegation in focus, a list of investigation activities, and a summary of findings. It is better not to mention here the secondary facts that may divert attention from the major issue.

If you still have a vague idea of what your summary should look like, you can write it step by step by answering such questions:

  • What happened?
  • When and where did it happen?
  • Who were the people involved?
  • How was the investigation process organized?
  • What were the findings?
  • Are the findings sufficient to confirm that the situation really happened?
  • What further steps should be taken?
  • If there are some important details about a complaint or allegation, you may create a separate section called allegation summary and include them in it. For example, you can write about witnesses, what events led to the incident, etc.
  • The paragraph with investigation findings is usually present in most reports of this kind. Your task is to summarize every aspect of your investigation in a concise and coherent manner. This resembles a blow-by-blow report of the case, underpinned by the key evidence that you discovered along the way. This section contains unbiased details and pieces of evidence relating to the incident.
  • An investigation report usually ends with a conclusion & recommendations. In this part, you need to explain to readers what prompted you to make a particular conclusion and why you believe the evidence supports or disproves the allegation or complaint. It is also important to include data that confirms that a person that testifies is credible and the incident is plausible. You can also state some facts that help people reading the report interpret the information the way you did it so that you're on the same page concerning the overall situation.

Types of Investigation Report

In general, three types of investigation reports can be differentiated.

Oral Report

As the name implies, an investigator presents the information verbally. You can also come across other terms denoting the same concept, namely, "verbal report" and "oral debrief." The biggest advantage of an oral report is that you need to spend less time preparing it. However, this doesn’t mean that you should not make notes or compile an evidence list. Of course, any serious case study involves managing documents, but for an oral report, the number of final papers is less extensive.

Oral debriefs also offer more flexibility for establishing a dialogue between an investigator and people listening to the report. For example, they may ask questions when the report is delivered in order to prevent misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Executive Summary

This type of investigational report is the most customizable. It can include the findings and the methodology used in the process or be expanded with detailed analysis, recommendations, and other sections. In other words, an investigator has total freedom to decide what information an executive summary will consist of. People frequently choose it for simple cases in order to save time.

Another reason to choose this type of investigation report is that all witness statements are kept secret, even if a document will be made public for additional investigation. Such an advantage is crucial because incidents usually raise sensitive issues, and revealing all details of the case can negatively impact a whole working environment, and witnesses in particular.

However, please keep in mind that an executive summary, similar to a verbal report, lacks a complete account of evidence and an in-depth analysis of the situation, so an investigator may fail to recall all the nuances of the process in the future if needed.

Investigation Report

Investigation report is an all-inclusive document that contains the data required to understand the essence of a formal complaint or allegation. Writing it, you need to describe the nature of the incident, the investigation scope, methodology, the whole list of evidence collected, the role of an investigator, and the findings.

Of course, it takes longer to prepare such a report. Besides, the procedure may entail higher expenses, especially if an investigator uses premium tools and methods for collecting information. However, with such a document, you may not worry that something important will be missing.

What Makes a Good Investigation Report?

When you write an investigation report, be clear and concise. To reach this goal, you need to:

  • Ensure the text is easy to read even if a person barely understands the specifics of the sphere. It is recommended to avoid passive voice, acronyms, terms, dubious explanations, and everything that causes confusion.
  • Make sure all facts are listed in a logical manner and the entire document is consistent. Read it several times, and if any questions arise about "who did what, when, where, and how," rewrite it.
  • Be objective when introducing findings. There should be no personal interpretations or evaluations of the event. An investigation report that sounds biased should be improved.

When you are done with writing, put your report aside and return to it after some time. Read it attentively and fix mistakes, if any. There can be something wrong with grammar or syntax, and it is paramount to submit a completely correct document.

Investigation Report Example

If you write such a paper for the first time, it is a good idea to use an investigation report template. Thus, you only need to fill out the data according to the provided layout. Also, you are welcome to check this professional investigation report sample and structure your information in a similar way.

If you worry that your investigation report doesn’t comply with established standards, feel free to get in touch with our experts. They will write a detailed, clear, and well-structured report in the shortest time possible. We have vast experience in writing investigation reports for different cases.

If you wish to check more samples of investigation reports, see the list below:

Investigation report: Education for the 21st Century

Investigation report: The Education Fellowship Trust

Investigation report: Park View Educational Trust

Investigation report: Perry Beeches The Academy Trust

Investigation report: Priory Federation of Academies Trust

Investigation report: The Silver Birch Academy Trust

Investigation report: Westfield Academy

Investigation report: Dunham Trust

Investigation report: E-ACT

Investigation report: Al-Madinah Free School



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