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Top 10 Investigation Report Must Haves

Top 10 Investigation Report Must Haves

A standardized investigation report process provides investigators with a format to follow and reduces time spent preparing the reports.

Writing investigation reports doesn't have to be daunting. A standardized reporting structure improves the consistency of reports amongst investigators, provides investigators with a reporting format to follow and reduces the time spent preparing investigation reports.

This information is all fine and dandy, however, what information do you actually need to put in an investigation report?

Here is your guide on how to make an investigation report, along with a downloadable example of an investigation report.

Want to save time on reporting (and make sure you include all the information you need)?

Download our free workplace investigation report template to ensure you don't miss any key details, reducing your risk of fines and lawsuits.

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1. Information to Identify the Case

Begin the report with case-specific information that identifies the case the report is related to. Include information such as the investigator's name, case number, the date the case was entered, and the date it was assigned to the investigator.

RELATED: Ultimate Guide to Writing Investigation Reports

2. Referral Source

The next section should include the complainant's information. The complainant's work phone number, e-mail, employee number, office location, department, and job title help identify the person lodging the complaint.

3. Allegation Details

Harassment, discrimination, retaliation: what type of allegation is under investigation?

In this section, be sure to include as much detail as possible about the initial complaint.

  • Type of case
  • Who the alleged victim is: may or may not be the same person as the complainant
  • How the complaint was received: hotline, face-to-face, web form, etc.
  • Allegation details: what happened, where, when and any other information provided in the initial complaint

4. Information About the Subject

The information required for this section of the report is similar to that of the "Referral Source" section of the investigation report. However, it's the subject's (the accused person's) information being documented this time. Include their name, e-mail, work phone number, office location, department, and job title.

5. Investigation Scope/ Purpose

Include a statement that describes the mission and objectives of the investigation. Answer the question "what is the investigation trying to prove?"

6. Case Notes

The case notes section should include an overview of the tasks assigned and action taken throughout the investigation. Be sure to include a brief description of the task, steps taken to complete it, who completed the task and when.

7. Interview Summaries

List the investigation interviews that took place throughout the investigation. Make sure the list is in chronological order, beginning with the first interview, ending with the last.

Summary details are short and sweet, outlining:

  • Name of the interviewer: also include the names of any other people who sat in on the interview
  • Name of the person interviewed and their role in the investigation: complainant, subject, witness
  • Interview location
  • Date of interview

In this section of the investigation report, there's no need to go into detail about the events of the investigation- that's what the next section is for!

8. Interview Reports

Interview reports are brief summaries of each of the investigation interviews.

In addition to the information in the above section, this part elaborates on the investigation interview to include:

  • Credibility Assessment- Certain factors will determine the credibility of an interviewee's statements. This section of the report should list any indicators that contribute to the belief that the interviewee is or isn't a credible source.
  • Investigator Notes- Summarize the introduction, incident overview and conclusion of each interview. In the introduction, outline the explanation of the interviewer's role in the investigation, the purpose for the interview, efforts to maintain confidentiality and retaliation protections. The incident overview section should include the interviewee's description of events related to the incident, whether or not they are aware of any witnesses, where/when the incident occurred and any background information linking the involved parties. Notes to be made about the interview conclusion should include thanking the interviewee, reiteration of confidentiality concepts, review of statements made and interviewee signing of investigator notes.

RELATED: Investigation Interview Questions to Determine Credibility

9. List of Evidence

As simple as it sounds; list the evidence collected during the investigation. For the sake of the investigation report, include information such as:

  • Type of evidence collected: interview, video, photo, audio tape, e-mail, etc.
  • Name of person who presented the evidence, as well as their role in the investigation
  • Date the evidence was collected
  • Location of the evidence

10. Recommendations

Conclude the report with recommendations. After reviewing all of the investigation materials, what type of action should be taken? Does evidence support the violation of workplace policies?

Make sure recommendations are backed up by the consequences outlined in the company code of conduct or other policies governing employee behaviour in the workplace. Include a plan of action, identifying next steps in taking corrective action.

Need some help with language or an investigation report example?  We recommend you start with this free Investigation Report Writing Cheat Sheet, which explains how to make an investigation report from start to finish.

Creating Investigation Reports With a Case Management System

Case management solutions simplify the investigation reporting process, creating reports with the click of a button. Initially, an investigation report template needs to be developed, outlining the sections of the report. Information from the investigation is pulled from the case file, automatically filling in each of the sections in the report. The report is then ready for export, with the investigator choosing the desired format for the report (PDF, MS Word document, etc.).

How mature are your workplace investigations?

An investigations maturity model can reveal your investigations program's strong points and areas for improvement. Learn how to evaluate your program in our upcoming fireside chat with investigations expert Meric Bloch.

Watch Now


What are the components of an investigation report?

The components of an investigation report include case identification details, referral source information, allegation specifics, subject details, investigation scope and purpose, case notes, interview summaries, interview reports, evidence listing, and recommendations for action.

What are the five basic steps in investigative report writing?

The five basic steps in investigative report writing include specifying the allegations, providing subject information, summarizing interviews, outlining and analyzing evidence, and making recommendations based on findings.

What does a good investigation look like?

A good investigation entails thorough documentation, adherence to a standardized reporting structure, comprehensive interviews, credible evidence collection, and clear recommendations backed by company policies.