What is fact-finding? Definition and examples

Fact-Finding refers to the gathering of information. It is often part of an initial mission, i.e., preliminary research, to gather facts for a subsequent full investigation or hearing. A fact-finding tour, for example, has the purpose of ascertaining facts. You may want to check the facts about, for instance, France, before deciding to break into the French market.

In this context, ‘market’ refers to the business environment where people buy and sell things.

The process of fact-finding is essential not only for building a case or understanding a situation but also for making informed decisions in business and governance.

In an inquiry or investigation, fact-finding is the discovery stage. During this stage, people gather information by using questionnaires and other survey tools. They then assemble all the data in a report and give it, perhaps with recommendations, to the investigator.

A government or parliamentary committee may go on a fact-finding mission to discover and establish the facts of an issue.

An advancing army will send out scouts to check out the terrain ahead. They will look out for enemy soldiers, hostile terrain, opportunities, strategic advantages, etc. The scouts go out on a fact-finding mission before the troops move forward.


A fact-finding mission, according to Collins Dictionary: “is one whose purpose is to get information about a particular situation, especially for an official group.”

Fact-Finding Rules

According to Queens University IRC in Canada, there are six golden rules in fact-finding.

  • Go to the source

The source may be a record or an individual. Even if the source is not readily accessible, you must strive to get the best evidence you can.

  • Remain objective

Do not let people sway you. It is important to focus just on the facts, rather than people’s personalities or opinions.

  • Persistence

Do not be put off if you are not getting the information you require. Try to find out the root of the cause.

  • Do not become paralyzed

It is important to separate necessary from unnecessary facts. Make sure you go where the facts take you. However, do not go beyond your mandate.

  • Do not make assumptions

Confirm all the facts you gather again and again. If the information you have gathered is not accurate, the whole mission is pointless.

  • Devise a plan and follow it

When you develop a plan, think strategically. Before you begin, determine whom you need to talk to and what you need to establish. Regularly review your plan to confirm that it is effective.

According to Queens University IRC:

“When planned and executed properly, fact-finding provides a solid foundation for conducting analyses, forming conclusions, generating options and formulating sound recommendations.”

“Fact-finding may involve researching documents or existing records and data, holding focus groups, interviewing witnesses, or using written surveys and questionnaires.”

Fact-finding techniques are crucial in post-investigation phases, often used to validate the outcomes and ensure comprehensive understanding of the findings.

 Compound Nouns Containing “Fact-Finding”

In various professional fields, “fact-finding” is a compound term often used to describe the thorough search for truths and information. A compound noun is a term consisting of two or more words that function as a single noun. Here are six compound nouns that integrate “fact-finding” to describe different aspects of investigative processes, each with a definition and an example in context:

  • Fact-Finding Mission

A specific task or expedition aimed at uncovering facts about a particular event, situation, or allegation.
Example: “The United Nations sent a fact-finding mission to the region to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground.”

  • Fact-Finding Committee

A group of people appointed to investigate an issue or a set of circumstances and to establish the facts.
Example: “The government established a fact-finding committee to delve into the causes of the financial crisis.”

  • Fact-Finding Report

A document that outlines the findings and evidence gathered during an investigation.
Example: “The fact-finding report was conclusive in showing the sequence of events that led to the system’s failure.”

  • Fact-Finding Inquiry

An investigation or research effort dedicated to gathering information about a specific topic or event.
Example: “A fact-finding inquiry into the accident will commence next week to determine the root cause.”

  • Fact-Finding Panel

A selection of experts or authority figures tasked with investigating facts on a particular issue.
Example: “The fact-finding panel included legal, environmental, and safety experts to ensure a well-rounded investigation.”

  • Fact-Finding Process

The systematic approach to uncovering information and verifying facts related to an investigation or study.
Example: “The auditor relied on a detailed fact-finding process to understand the discrepancies in the financial statements.”

Video – What is Fact-Finding?

This video, from our YouTube partner channel – Marketing Business Network, explains what ‘Fact-Finding’ means using simple and easy-to-understand language and examples.