As actors come in with suspects and out from crime scenes, they file investigation reports as necessary documents. Just what do these reports hold, and how are they made? To find out more about an investigation report, including its definition, components, and construction, read through the article below. It also holds frequently asked questions that come in handy in learning more about these documents.

57+ Sample Investigation Report 

What Is an Investigation Report?

An investigation report is a document detailing the findings of an investigation. It follows after the filing of a formal complaint or the occurrence of an incident. In the investigation report, the police or investigators’ primary purpose is to locate and gather precise information and evidence. It is also their responsibility to recover particular files with the corresponding date and time stamps. The written records are impartial. Unbiased because it comes from proof and data collection on-site and not based on opinions of the responding body. The writing of the investigation report comes with the intent to be used in the court of law. The document must be sample brief with a focus on the objective or smart goal of the investigation. The aim of the overall process lies with the client. The client can be internal or another investigator or lawyer on the case. Ensure that the investigation report centers and specifies the purpose of the investigation.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in December 2020, the FBI released a detailed data collection of nearly 7.7 million reported criminal offenses from the 2019 National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). It also includes data about the victims, known offenders, and related transgressions with 23 categories.

Components of an Investigation Report

Writing investigation reports does not need to be complicated. Having a uniform and standardized structure improves the accuracy and consistency of write-ups. It also provides a format to follow that lessens the time spent on preparing the investigations reports. Below is a list of the information that must reflect on any investigation report.

General information: It is best to start the report with complete and specific details. It allows proper authorities to identify the case report that helps with its identification. Indicate necessary information like the investigator’s name, case number, date of filing of the case, and the date when the investigator took it. Referral source: The referral source contains the complainant’s information. It includes their work number, email address, employee number, office location, job title, and department to help recognize the person complaining. Allegation details: It is necessary to identify as much applicable and relevant information about the previous complaint in this section. Ensure that it distinguishes the type of case brief, the identification of the alleged victim, the process the complaint was received, and the allegation details. Each description must be precise and reliable because the information is relating to the initial complaint made before the present investigation.Subject’s information: The section shares similarities with the referral source section. However, instead of the complainant’s information, it lists down the subject or the accused person’s details, including their complete name, contact information, office location, job title, and department.Purpose or scope of the investigation: The investigation report must hold a statement that describes the case’s mission statement and objectives behind placing the examination. It must detail what it is trying to prove.Case notes: The case notes must present an overview of the assigned responsibilities and the performed actions throughout the entire investigation process. It is necessary to include a creative brief description of the tasks and the requisite steps to achieve them, with details about who completed the responsibilities and when the duties are completed.Interview summaries: Register all the case interviews that took place during the investigation. Ensure that the executive summary list is in chronological order, starting from the first interview up to the last one. The interview details must be concise and clear, including information like the interviewer’s name plus the names of the people present during the interview. It must also reflect the name of the person interviewed and what their role is with the investigation, indicate if they are a witness, a complainant, or the subject. Also, state the interview’s location and date.Interview reports: Interview reports are summaries relating to the investigation interviews. With the information collated with the section above, the reports elaborate on the matter. First, there must be a process of credibility assessment. In this part of the report, several factors determine the credibility of the statements given by an interviewee. This section of the list must include a specific list of indicators or nuances that the interviewer spots to contribute to whether the interviewee is a credible source. Another portion of the interview report summarizes the introduction, incident overview, and conclusion of each interview. The introduction section outlines the explanation of the interviewer’s part when it comes to the investigation. It states the purpose, efforts to maintain confidentiality statement, and protection when it comes to retaliation. The incident overview includes the witness’s description of events concerning the incident. It details if the interviewee had seen any other witnesses, where and when the accident happened, and any supporting information correlating to the involved parties. The additional notes relating to the interview’s conclusion must include a thank you letter to the interviewee, a reiteration of the concept of confidentiality, a review of the narrative given by the interviewee, along with their signature to certify the investigator’s notes.List of evidence: The section includes all related evidence to support the investigation during its occurrence. It is necessary to incorporate information such as the type of collected evidence, whether through an interview, video, audio, photo, email letter, or any tangible evidence. It must also include the person’s name who produced the evidence and their role in the investigation. Also, note the date of the evidence’s collection and the location of the evidence.Recommendations: End the report with a set of recommendations. Upon the assessment of all evidence material, indicate what the best course of action is. Specify if the presented evidence violates any policies in the workplace or vicinity. Guarantee that all recommendations listed down are under support of the consequences highlighted in the code of conduct or other behaviors governing the structural system of the organization. Lastly, include an action plan to record all the necessary steps in taking corrective actions.

How to Write An Investigation Report

At this point, the workplace investigator begins compiling the investigation report with time, documents, and interview outcomes that have no doubt accumulated. Bringing all of the evidence effectively into a quality investigation report poses a challenge. It is helpful to divide the tasks into a detailed step-by-step process for a workplace investigation report to result in a necessary and professional record.

Step 1: Take Time to Revise the Brief

Before the compilation of all related evidence to the investigation report, guarantee that it meets the standard Terms of Reference (TOR). Establishing the TOR at the beginning of the investigation between the person under investigation and the employer, identifying the related people, and the queries and tasks relevant to the investigation must be the priority. With the TOR in mind, the workplace investigator must check out the list to know if all necessary investigation aspects are complete.

Step 2: Start Preparing the Draft

Investigation reports must be well-planned and logically organized. Using the Terms of Reference and the collected evidence, the investigation worker must already write out and double-check the preliminary findings. For example, a prior verdict that went through all the necessary methods is proven true. Ensure that it still goes through another process of fact-checking relevant to the incident to guarantee that the available materials truly support the findings of the case. It is also necessary to note the issues of a fair policy and procedure, such as including all the appropriate witnesses.

Step 3: Write with the Idea of Future Referencing

Any well-structured investigation report contains one or two key features. First is the format. It must be comprehensive and sequential, with a simple and understandable index of the report’s body and the appendix. The purpose of the investigation report is for the employer to get a clear picture of the incident and what related findings are made available. Using general words instead of jargon or hifalutin words is mandatory and ensures the table of content. Second, make the report as brief as possible. It must center on the general four components of the investigation report, along with appendices. An objective and neutral language must be present throughout the length of the document to establish the strict observation of procedures in the entirety of the task.

Step 4: Guarantee a Logical Sequence of Ideas

The components of an investigation report can be further divided into four main groups to ensure there is a logical flow to the document that is comprehensive and easy to understand. The four parts are the overview, findings, evidence, and the conclusion and recommendations. The overview contains the introduction that gives a brief description of the events and processes involved in the workplace investigation. It must also hold a summary of the TOR, an accurate timeline of the investigation activities. The first section must give an initial idea of the events preceding the creation of the report.

The findings section must include all relevant data to support the allegations. By placing the findings just after the overview, it creates understandable and user-friendly content. List down all declarations along with a brief statement to whether or not there is satisfaction based on evidence. The third section describes all available evidence related to the allegations in question. It must refer readers to the appendices to easily access the reference to particular evidence. Guarantee that each section has related documents and avoids emotive language to assure fairness. In the summary and recommendations, a synopsis of the investigation and the outcomes are present. Include any additional information or references as requested under the TOR. These must be numbered and direct to the findings available within the report.


Why is it necessary to write an investigation report?

An investigation report is commonly seen and used in the department of the police report and other law enforcement offices. However, it is not only at these places that investigations happen. Some companies have their specialists to resolve any issues or disputes within the company. These may be in the form of employee or managerial complaints, minor flaws, or company violations. Each problem must undergo solving and investigation according to the company’s policies, and the reports help take preventive measures before the cases implode. Some authorities choose these measures accordingly unless infringement issues break local or state laws.

What are the purposes of creating an investigation report?

Investigation reports serve more than one purpose. For one, it is an essential document that calls for action based on the official findings it presents. It may relate to the termination of employment, corrective action plan, training implementations, counseling sessions, and other actions based on the conclusions. The report also records necessary processes linking to the investigation. It serves as proof that the method used by the investigator is fair, timely, and comprehensive. The information within an investigation report can be used as a citation in any legal action. It is necessary that the report’s details are accurate and detailed and only focuses on the incident that happened. Writing the investigation report also helps with clarifying the investigator’s thinking process and can sometimes aid in uncovering additional inquiries and facts that provide new insights into the incident. It also provides valuable information in helping prevent or lessen similar cases of the incident from happening in the future. Lastly, it implements controlled conditions for the betterment of employees and the organization from previous investigation reports.

What is the difference between an accident investigation report and an incident investigation report?

Incidents happen around the world at any given time. These occurrences happen without warning, and it becomes impossible or hard to prevent. However, through reporting these events, people can eventually find various ways to prevent them from happening. An incident investigation report pertains to any circumstance, may it be good or bad, that occurred requiring an investigation. Meanwhile, an accident investigation report tends to be more exact and stands for any catastrophes that resulted in injuries, damages, and even death. Generally, the writing process of these two reports has no adequate variations, and their construction remains the same.

Any organization must take care of its name, management, and especially its employees. Employees are what makes businesses run, and any form of an incident that happens must be well taken care of through the due process. The company must ascertain that an impartial yet knowledgeable investigator conducts the investigation method. It guarantees that there will be an accurate and unbiased document resulting from the investigation. As these reports help prevent similar events, it is necessary that the basis of the content is on facts and evidence gathered and that these proof went through thorough fact-checking practices. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Truth never damages a cause that is just.” Get started with creating investigation reports for your business through the samples above that is available for use and download!