Published 13 Sep 2023
What is an Investigation Report?
An investigation report is a document that details the findings of an investigation as soon as a formal complaint is filed or an incident occurs. This is where investigators record the issues of the matter, analyze the evidence, and formulate a conclusion. It is impartial and based on evidence, not on the opinions of an investigator or the parties involved.
In this article
- How To Write An Investigation Report (with Examples)
- Investigation Report Format
- How to Use an Investigation Report Template
- Investigation Report Sample
- FAQs about Investigation Reports
- Easily Document Investigation Reports with SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)
- Free Investigation Report Templates
How To Write An Investigation Report (with Examples)
What is investigative report writing anyway? An investigation is a step-by-step method for determining facts about an issue or incident in public or workplace settings. Without proper documentation via an official investigative report, however, one cannot present a clear picture of what happened. To ensure that all facts, testimonials, and evidence are collated for later analysis, an investigator should follow three essential steps.
Below is an actual example that shows and follows how to write an investigation report with three basic steps:
Step 1: Start With What You Know
The investigator should record the information about the subject (respondent or accused person) and the details of the complaint. Take note of specific descriptions such as times, dates, and locations to further clarify the issues of the matter.
Example: Alicia Bates alleges that Clark Nichols, a payroll clerk, has been falsifying his timesheet. Alicia says that she noticed a discrepancy when she reviewed the timesheets in preparation for the January 2019 payroll. On February 4, Alicia required Clark to explain in writing said discrepancies and saw that it did not align with the hours that he reported.
Step 2: Make Sense of What You Have
Evidence analysis can substantiate claims from either party. The investigator should gather physical evidence such as footage, email records, documents or papers, physical objects, etc. and document investigative interviews. These should then be analyzed to identify the relevant facts, assess the credibility of disputed facts, and dismiss irrelevant facts.
Example: CCTV footage shows that Clark was not in the office during the times he reported in his timesheet. I interviewed Clark on February 11, and he denied the allegations. He said that he would start as early as 4 AM sometimes and go to a local fast food chain for breakfast by 8 AM, which he argued explained his absence. Clark sought the assistance of a fellow payroll clerk, Alfred Mariano, to cover up his conduct. I interviewed Alfred on February 12, and he said that he usually sees Clark in the office after their lunch break.
Step 3: Formulate a Conclusion
State the conclusion reached based on the facts and supporting evidence. At the end of the report, the investigator should indicate whether the matter is substantiated, unsubstantiated, or inconclusive.
Investigation Report Format
Investigation reports can differ based on the industry of a business. There are, however, certain important elements that should always be included to make a comprehensive report. Here’s a list of key details to incorporate in an investigation report:
- Background information of the case
- Names and titles of investigators
- Organization name
- Type of case (complaint, violation, incident, accident)
- Case summary
- Interview (as needed)
- Case conclusion
- Required signatures
How to Use an Investigation Report Template
The accuracy of an investigation report lies in its structure. The structure allows reports to be consistent and reduces the time and effort spent in preparing and writing the report. Additionally, it would also be ideal if investigation reports are performed in a tool that allows easy collaboration, documentation in one safe location, and real-time report generation.
Steps to Using the Investigation Report Template
An effective investigation report follow these steps:
- Ask for basic information – This is the backbone of the investigation report—information including name, subject, contact details, the party conducting the investigation, the assigned investigator’s name, case number, and the dates that the case was created and completed (if applicable), should be added.
- Specify the type of case – Before proceeding with the report, identify the type of case to be investigated. It can be a case of a complaint, violation, incident, or an accident—specifying this would help in collecting the right data needed for a cohesive report.
- Gather supporting details – Provide a summary of the complaint by detailing initially known facts. It will also be helpful to include who was involved in the case and how the report was received.
- Provide evidence – Strengthen the report by attaching a photo of tangible evidence. This evidence can be in the form of footage, email records, security records, computer login records, documents, and physical objects, among others. It will also be ideal to conduct interviews with people involved or those who witnessed the incident firsthand.
- Arrive with a conclusion – After going through case notes, and analyzing claims and evidence, the investigator will then formulate a conclusion and indicate whether the case is substantiated, unsubstantiated, or inconclusive.
Investigation Report Sample
To give you a better idea of what an investigation report looks like, below is a final investigation report sample we’ve created using an investigation report template. Preview and download an Investigation Report Template here.
FAQs about Investigation Reports
An investigative report should include all the pertinent information about the incident along with all the evidence gathered to support the inquiry. This can consist of the type of case (e.g., complaint, violation, incident, or accident), a summary of details related to the case which will help provide better context on the issue, evidence such as photos, footage, email records, interview statements of people involved, and other substantial documents should be included to strengthen the report, and lastly, the conclusion which states the result of the findings from the case.
An investigator will be assigned either in-house or externally to look into the details of the incident. The investigator will be responsible in exploring the details of the allegations, examining the evidence, and formulating a conclusion. He/she will then write the report and present his/her findings to the stakeholders.
An investigation report is an excellent way of presenting the information and evidence gathered during the investigation. Documenting investigations ensures a reliable account of the event.
Easily Document Investigation Reports with SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)
Evidence documentation and creating investigation reports using pen and paper can be time-consuming and burdensome. Investigators can use SafetyCulture, the world’s leading inspection software, and take advantage of these benefits:
- Document physical evidence and investigative interviews easily by capturing and annotating photos during the investigation.
- Save time by organizing recorded witness statements and collected evidence within the mobile app.
- Generate investigation reports in formats such as PDF, DOC, or Weblink then submit them to decision-makers for immediate action based on findings.
- Store unlimited investigation reports in the cloud and create or customize your own investigation report templates.
- Consolidate your case notes on your mobile device to ensure that no detail is overlooked during the investigation. Investigators can edit and update investigation reports in real time!
Free Investigation Report Templates
An incident investigation report template is used to document an incident as soon as it occurs, no matter how big or small. Capture relevant environmental, equipment, system, and people factors that may have contributed to the incident. You can also use this template to identify steps to be taken based on contributing factors and underlying causes.
An accident investigation report template is used to determine the root cause of an accident so that future occurrences can be prevented. This template can be used by workplace supervisors to gather general information on the injured employee, record witness statements, identify the details of the accident, and describe its consequences. An accident investigation report also includes recommendations to avoid accident reoccurrence.
A site investigation report template is used by qualified investigators to determine characteristics of the soil in a specified property. It can help support a risk assessment, provide data for the design of remedial works, and benchmark the contamination status of a site. Use this template to specify the site information, characterize soil through testing, and complete the report by providing your overall findings and digital signature.
A fire investigation report is a comprehensive summary of a fire incident. Use this fire investigation report template to collaborate with the investigative team in identifying the root cause of a fire. Determine whether the fire was accidental or criminal and describe factors and issues that may have contributed to the incident. Document interviews from relevant witnesses, take photos of the area,and complete the report by providing recommendations to improve safety.