What is an investigation?

An investigation is a systematic, in-depth examination to find and analyze data, facts, or proof in order to arrive at conclusions or establish truths. It includes collecting data, verifying its authenticity, and assimilating it to understand a specific action, situation, or event.

In other words, it is a detailed look into something to find out the truth. It means gathering information, checking whether it is accurate, and using it to understand a specific situation or event.

Key elements

Here are the key elements:

  • Objective

Every investigation has a specific purpose or aim. This could be to solve a crime or to understand a scientific event.

  • Evidence collection

This is about collecting data or materials that can provide answers.

  • Analysis

Once the evidence is collected, it’s time to examine it closely.

  • Conclusion

Drawing a final decision based on the evidence and its analysis.

Various people carrying out different types of investigations
Image created by Market Business News.

Types of investigations

There are several types of investigations, including:

  • Criminal investigation

This type of investigation is usually conducted by police and law enforcement agencies to solve crimes and bring offenders to justice.

  • Scientific investigation

Scientists and researchers conduct this type of investigation to understand underlying principles, discover new knowledge, and expand current knowledge.

  • Corporate investigation

Businesses may investigate matters, like potential employee misconduct, background research on a new hire, or external issues like fraud and market analysis.

  • Journalistic investigation

Journalists conduct this type of investigation to understand stories, uncover facts, and sometimes shed light on hidden issues or corruption.

Importance of investigations

  • Justice

A criminal investigation aims to identify the culprits, ensure they face appropriate legal consequences, and provide justice to the victims.

  • Safety and security

Investigations might reveal vulnerabilities or risks, which can result in improved safety procedures.

  • Knowledge advancement

Scientific research results in discoveries and breakthroughs by deepening our understanding of the world.

  • Accountability

In business and government, investigators ensure transparency and accountability, holding entities accountable for their actions.


When conducting an investigation, individuals may encounter several challenges, including:

  • Misinformation

It is important to be able to tell what is real, genuine evidence and what is misleading information.

  • Resource constraints

A lack of time, personnel, or the right equipment may seriously undermine an investigator’s work.

  • External pressures

An investigation’s trajectory or conclusion may occasionally be influenced by corporate, social, or political influences.

Written by Nicolas Perez Diaz, October 27, 2023.