Solve Investigations Right: 5 Essential Mistakes To Avoid

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September 29th, 2023

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In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the five most prevalent mistakes made when writing an investigation report and offer practical strategies for avoiding them. These common pitfalls can significantly hinder the effectiveness of an investigation, making it crucial to navigate them with care.

  • Not Establishing Clear Objectives: The first and perhaps most crucial mistake is the failure to establish clear and specific objectives for the investigation. Without defined goals, investigators may find themselves adrift, making it challenging to measure the investigation’s success. To overcome this mistake, it’s essential to outline specific objectives that serve as a roadmap for the entire process.
  • Not Securing Evidence Properly: Properly securing evidence is paramount in ensuring its integrity and reliability. Failing to do so can lead to tainted evidence and jeopardize the entire investigation’s credibility. Investigators must diligently label and store all evidence, meticulously document the chain of custody, and adhere to best practices in handling sensitive materials.
  • Not Documenting: Documentation plays a pivotal role in maintaining accountability and order throughout the investigation. This entails recording observations, interviews, witness statements, and other pertinent information. Detailed documentation not only aids in keeping track of progress but also serves as a safeguard against potential challenges to the investigation’s legitimacy.
  • Not Analyzing Adequately: Adequate analysis is crucial to draw meaningful conclusions from the gathered evidence. Simply collecting data is insufficient; investigators must delve deeply into the evidence, scrutinizing it from various angles while remaining vigilant for inconsistencies and potential biases. A comprehensive understanding of the evidence is vital to conducting a precise investigation.
  • Not Collaborating Effectively: Collaboration is a cornerstone of successful investigations. Engaging with other investigators and stakeholders brings diverse perspectives and experiences to the table, enhancing the chances of uncovering discrepancies. Effective collaboration helps expedite the process and ensures a more comprehensive investigation.

To avoid these pitfalls, investigators should meticulously plan their approach, setting clear objectives, securing evidence, documenting every step, conducting thorough analysis, and collaborating effectively. This proactive approach, illustrated in a hypothetical scenario featuring Detective John, provides a template for conducting a successful investigation.

In addition to these insights, the guide emphasizes the importance of citing credible sources to support the information presented in the blog post. Furthermore, it encourages readers to participate in the discussion by sharing their own experiences and questions, fostering a community of mutual learning and growth.

The guide also highlights the value of incorporating visuals, such as images or infographics, to enhance the understanding of the five common mistakes. Visual aids can make complex concepts more accessible to readers, improving overall comprehension.

In summary, this guide equips readers with the knowledge and strategies needed to navigate the challenges of writing an investigation effectively. By addressing these five common mistakes and following the recommended steps, investigators can enhance the accuracy and credibility of their investigative reports.

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Are you ready to get started on your investigation but don’t know where to begin? Writing an investigation often comes with its own set of challenges and mistakes if you are not prepared. In this guide, we will be exploring the five most common mistakes when writing an investigation so that you can better equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to properly execute a successful investigation.

First Mistake: Not Establishing Clear Objectives

When writing an investigation, it is vital that you establish clear objectives from the outset so that you have an understanding of what you are looking to achieve. Without clear objectives, you may end up wandering aimlessly and in the end not actually achieve anything. When creating objectives, try to focus on one objective at a time and make sure each objective is specific.

Second Mistake: Not Securing Properly

When conducting an investigation, it is essential that you secure all evidence properly. This means ensuring that all evidence is labeled and stored correctly which will ensure that any and all evidence collected is not compromised in any way. Not securing evidence properly could lead to false results which could throw off the entire investigation.

Third Mistake: Not Documenting

Documentation is key when writing an investigation as it helps to provide an accountability trail and makes sure that all processes are kept in order. Documenting includes recording observations, interviewing witnesses, and collecting statements. Proper documentation can help to ensure that the investigation is conducted in an orderly and professional manner.

Fourth Mistake: Not Analyzing Adequately

Once the evidence has been gathered and documents have been written, it is important to analyze the information thoroughly so as to draw meaningful conclusions. This involves looking at the evidence in detail to make sure that all facts are taken into account before any decisions are made. This is an important step to make sure that the investigation is conducted accurately.

Fifth Mistake: Not Collaborating Effectively

Collaborating with other investigators and stakeholders can be extremely beneficial when conducting an investigation because it allows different individuals to bring their unique experiences and perspectives to the table. Working together can also help to speed up the process and increase the chances of uncovering any discrepancies in the investigation.

How to Avoid Making These Mistakes

One of the best ways to avoid making these mistakes when writing an investigation is to be mindful and prepared. Before beginning an investigation, make sure that you have established clear objectives, secure all evidence properly, document your findings, analyze adequately and collaborate effectively. By doing so, you will be able to ensure that your investigation runs smoothly and efficiently.


Let’s take a look at a hypothetical situation to illustrate how to sidestep the five common mistakes when writing an investigation.

John is starting the process of writing an investigation. Before he begins investigating, John takes the time to write down his objectives and plan out the steps he will take. He then proceeds to secure, document, and analyze the data he has collected, ensuring that all the evidence is valid and reliable. Finally, John collaborates with other investigators and stakeholders to ensure that all aspects of the investigation are accounted for.


In conclusion, the five most common mistakes when writing an investigation are not establishing clear objectives, not securing properly, not documenting, not analyzing adequately, and not collaborating effectively. Being aware of and avoiding these mistakes, as illustrated by the example of John, can help you gain more successful results when writing an investigation.

Not Establishing Clear Objectives

One of the most common mistakes when writing an investigation is not establishing clear objectives. This involves setting out specific goals or targets for the investigation that need to be met in order for it to be successful. Without a clear set of objectives, it can be difficult to determine if the results of the investigation were satisfactory and if the investigation was worth the effort.

When creating your objectives, make sure to be as specific as possible. For example, instead of simply stating “find out why the incident occurred”, you could say “investigate the cause of the incident and list the mitigation steps that should be taken to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future”. By specifying what you hope to achieve from the investigation, it will be much easier to accurately assess the results.

Second Mistake: Not Securing Properly

When conducting an investigation, it is of utmost importance to properly secure all evidence. This may involve gathering witness statements, physical evidence like surveillance footage, documents, emails, and more. These items need to be preserved in a secure environment and handled with care to ensure their authenticity. Failing to secure this evidence properly can lead to unreliable results and discredit your findings.

Organizing evidence in a well-structured way also helps to make sure all relevant details are captured and taken into account. Developing a solid system of cataloguing evidence helps to minimize the chances of important items being overlooked or misplaced. Furthermore, making sure that all information is collected in a timely manner is also important to ensure that information does not become corrupted or is destroyed by outside sources.

Third Mistake: Not Documenting

Documentation is a critical part of any investigation, as it helps to create an organized timeline of events, facts, and findings throughout the process. When writing an investigation, it’s important to document all steps and outcomes, as well as any potential evidence collected. By doing so, you ensure that all pertinent information is available when needed.

Documenting involves keeping detailed notes on the progress of the investigation, including conversations, interviews with witnesses, and other information that may be relevant. Additionally, it means accurately recording any evidence gathered, as well as where and how it was found. Having all this information documented is essential in being able to easily review the investigation and present findings in a clear and concise manner.

Fourth Mistake: Not Analyzing Adequately

When conducting an investigation, it’s important to ensure that you are adequately analyzing the evidence. This means that you need to take the time to go through the evidence carefully, making sure to look at different angles, and look closely for any patterns or clues that may be revealed. It’s also important to look for any inconsistencies, and make sure that any discrepancies are clarified.

Analyzing evidence also involves considering the overall context, such as who may have had access to the area where the crime took place. Additionally, some evidence may require specialized analysis, such as fingerprinting or DNA testing. All of this is necessary to ensure a thorough investigation.

Fifth Mistake: Not Collaborating Effectively

When it comes to writing an effective investigation, collaboration is key. Investigating a topic often requires using different types of data and perspectives in order to get an accurate picture of the situation. Having multiple people working on the same investigation can help capture different angles that may otherwise go unnoticed. Collaboration also enables the investigators to share ideas and build off of each other’s work, resulting in a more comprehensive investigation.

It’s important to remember that collaboration doesn’t just involve working with partners or colleagues – researchers must also collaborate with the people they are investigating. This includes gathering input from witnesses, audio-recordings, and interviews. In addition, it’s important to reach out to any additional sources, such as experts, who may shed light on an investigation and provide valuable insights.

Overall, collaboration is essential for any successful investigation. Without it, important details may be overlooked or misinterpreted. Collaboration is an essential element of any investigation, so it’s important to consider how best to take advantage of it in order to conduct a successful investigation.

In order to avoid making these five common mistakes when writing an investigation, there are several ways to ensure success. First, it is important to create clear objectives for the investigation before beginning. This will help to ensure that the investigation is well-focused and on track with its goals.

Second, taking the necessary steps to secure the evidence properly is essential. Not taking proper security measures may leave critical evidence vulnerable to tampering or unauthorized access.

Third, documenting the entire process is a must. By documenting each step of the investigation, it will be easier to keep track of progress. Additionally, this will also help to protect against any contested accusations against the investigation.

Fourth, thoroughly analyze the available evidence. Gather as much data as possible and carefully evaluate each piece. It is also important to be aware of potential biases in the analysis.

Finally, collaborate effectively to ensure accuracy. Work closely with other investigators and stakeholders to make sure that everything is referenced accurately.

By following these simple steps, it is possible to avoid making the five most common mistakes when writing an investigation.


Imagine you are a detective in a small town and you have been tasked with investigating a crime. You decide to start writing your investigation report. You know that making mistakes when writing an investigation can lead to serious consequences, so you decide to make sure you avoid the five most common ones.

You start by setting clear objectives for your investigation. You take time to detail exactly what needs to be achieved and how you plan on achieving it. You then secure all evidence properly, documenting everything as you go. When it comes to analyzing the evidence, you take the time to do it thoroughly and correctly. Lastly, you make sure to collaborate effectively with other investigative teams and personnel.

With all of this in mind, you get to work on writing your investigation report. As you write, you make sure to follow all of the steps that you established. Your report is thorough and complete, and when you are done, you hand it in with confidence that you have provided the best possible report.

With this scenario in mind, let’s take a look at the five most common mistakes made when writing an investigation and how to avoid them.

Staying Away from the Five Most Common Mistakes When Writing an Investigation

Investigations are vital to uncovering truth, but not if they are done incorrectly. Here are five of the most common mistakes that one ought to avoid when writing an investigation:

  • Not Establishing Clear Objectives – Before starting an investigation, it is important to set a plan that outlines the goals of the inquiry. Knowing what needs to be accomplished in the investigation helps to ensure that the process is conducted methodically and efficiently.
  • Not Securing Properly – It is necessary to properly secure evidence during an investigation. This means keeping track of all evidence collected or examined, making sure it is stored securely, and documenting its chain of custody.
  • Not Documenting – It is important to document everything related to the investigation, such as interviews, witness statements, and other data. Documenting helps create a record of the entire process so that the facts become clear.
  • Not Analyzing Adequately – Adequate analysis entails more than just collecting and reviewing data; it involves examining the data from different angles to draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Not Collaborating Effectively – Investigations often involve several individuals, which is why it is necessary to collaborate efficiently. Establishing clear roles and communication protocols can help improve the efficiency of the process.

By avoiding these mistakes, it becomes easier to execute a successful, efficient investigation. However, if you do make one of these mistakes, it’s important to act quickly and take corrective measures to keep the investigation on track.

When writing an investigation, it is important to check the source and accuracy of the information. To support the facts in the blog post, we need to provide citations from credible sources. Citing sources helps to demonstrate that you have done your research and that your claims are valid. It also helps to build trust with your readers and to establish a good reputation as an author. To cite sources, list the authors, the titles of the materials, the publication date, and the URL. This will help demonstrate that your content is reliable and trustworthy.

It’s important to take action after reading any blog post, and when it comes to learning the five most common mistakes when writing an investigation, this is especially true. That’s why we ask that you participate in the conversation by submitting your own questions or experiences to share with our community. We want to create an environment of mutual learning and growth. After all, if we can learn from each other’s mistakes, we can get better together! So please, take a moment to submit your own thoughts and help us grow as a collective.

Image/Infographic – Visually Showing the Five Mistakes

When writing an investigative report, it is important to include visuals that help the reader understand the mistakes that are being discussed. This can be done through images or infographics. An image or infographic can effectively show the five most common mistakes when writing an investigation. Each mistake can be identified and described, allowing the reader to better grasp the concept. Having visuals associated with the mistakes can also help the reader parse out more difficult concepts. This way, the reader will understand the mistakes without having to read through large amounts of text.

  • Pictures – Including pictures related to the mistakes will help to visually illustrate the concept
  • Infographics – An infographic can be used to provide an overview of the five mistakes in one easy-to-follow graphic

Images and infographics provide a great visual method for conveying the five most common mistakes when writing an investigation. It is much easier to process information when it is presented in a visually appealing manner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Writing an Investigation

The five most common mistakes when writing an investigation are not establishing clear objectives, not securing properly, not documenting, not analyzing adequately, and not collaborating effectively.

To avoid making these common mistakes, it is important to establish clear objectives before beginning the investigation, be sure to secure evidence properly, document your findings, analyze the evidence adequately, and collaborate effectively with colleagues.

To ensure a successful investigation, start by setting realistic objectives and have a plan of action for how you will complete the investigation. Next, be prepared to take steps to secure evidence and document every step of the process accurately. Lastly, make sure to analyze the data thoroughly and collaborate with colleagues effectively to get to the best possible outcome.

Documenting is of utmost importance when conducting an investigation. Documentation allows you to construct a timeline of events that aids in the analysis of information and provides official records of evidence if needed.

Cooperation and collaboration are integral parts of any successful investigation. As the investigation progresses, it is important to have input and expertise from people with different points of view to guide the investigation and ensure the best possible result.

Before executing an investigation, it is important to consider a hypothetical scenario that includes all of the steps that you will need to take in order to properly investigate the issue. This includes developing objectives, securing evidence, documenting, analyzing and collaborating.

To cite other sources in your report or investigation, be sure to include the author’s name and the title of the published work. You should also include the URL of the source if appropriate.