Writing Investigative Reports How To’s
Investigative reports are written by private investigators for the purpose of providing the necessary information to their clients. These often serve as one of the primary bases for their overall performance and it’s therefore important for every private investigator not only to hone his sleuthing skills but his ability to wield a pen as well.
Here are a few tips to help you impress your clients with your investigative report.
Observe professional standards.
Follow common technical requirements for font styles, margins, document size, and make sure to submit your investigative report on time and properly and safely enclosed in a folder or envelope.
Avoid use of colloquial words as they have no place in formal writing. Remember to write objectively and using the third person’s point of view. This is, after all, an investigative report and not an autobiography or memoir.
Use outlines and drafts.
Cohesiveness and coherency are essential in investigative reports. These documents utilize formal writing and, thus, require you to relay the information in a clear sequence of events. An outline will help ensure that you do everything step by step. Drafts, on the other hand, help you flesh out your writing and find small errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Determine the objectives for your investigative report. They will help you stick as closely as possible to your outline and make your drafts less prone to mistakes.
Investigative reports are not legends or poems. They do not require flowery descriptions and complicated sentences. Rather, you need to be concise with your writing. Do your best to explain every issue briefly but clearly. Don’t skimp on detail but don’t include unnecessary or irrelevant information.
Take note of the essential parts.
An investigative report, regardless of the topic, has five essential parts. The introduction gives the reader the case’s background. Methods used in the investigation should also be identified and explained. Results should be stated, evaluated, and interpreted. Conclusions should be made and last but not the least, primary and secondary sources or references for information used in the report should be listed.
Edit and revise.
When you have the final draft ready, give it a rest for a day or two before editing it for possible last revisions. If it’s within your agreement to share your report with other people in the company, it wouldn’t hurt to have another person proofread your report.
Lastly, don’t forget to ask for feedback. Knowing where you did extremely well – or bad – can help improve the next investigative report you’re set to write.
image credits to athena