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12 Tips for Writing an Effective Investigation Report

Step-by-step instructions to create a stellar report

Posted by Dawn Lomer on March 25th, 2015

For many new investigators, writing the final investigation report is a dreaded chore. They rush through the process, cobble together the information from documents and files, and end up with something that is either too long-winded, too vague or misses relevant information.

Seasoned investigators know that the final investigation report is a perfect place to showcase the thorough investigation they conducted, present the facts to stakeholders in a way that makes the conclusion clear, and reduce the need for follow-up work. A great investigation report saves everyone time and effort by presenting all the necessary facts in a simple, clear and accurate summary. But even experienced investigators sometimes forget the importance of this final report in the rush of getting to the next case.

Learn more: Read the Ultimate Guide to Writing Investigation Reports.

Keep Investigation Reports Simple, Clear and Accurate

A great investigation report saves everyone time and effort by presenting all the necessary facts in a simple, clear and accurate summary.
Whether you are a new investigator, someone who conducts investigations occasionally or a seasoned investigator managing multiple investigations, you can probably use a refresher on the essentials of writing effective investigation reports. In this 10-minute video, employment attorney Xan Raskin discusses the elements of a stellar investigation report.

The video covers:

  1. writing the introduction or overview
  2. high-level summary or scope
  3. documentation of evidence, including interviews
  4. relevant policies and pivotal documents related to the complaint and whether to include attachments or incorporate the text into the report
  5. summary, allegations and the factual findings
  6. benefits of having an executive summary on top of all the interviews
  7. conclusions
  8. documenting credibility decisions
  9. recommendations for corrective action
  10. drafting pitfalls
  11. drawing conclusions
  12. communicating the report to management and third parties

Need a quick reference? Download our Investigation Report Writing Cheat Sheet.

Step-by-Step Investigation Reports

Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Manager of Communications

Dawn Lomer is the Manager of Communications at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.

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