Investigation-Innovations | Peer Reviewed Journals
Sociology and Criminology-Open Access

Sociology and Criminology-Open Access
Open Access

ISSN: 2375-4435



An investigation is a thorough search for facts, especially those that are hidden or need to be sorted out in a complex situation. The goal of an investigation is usually to determine how or why something happened. Investigations are usually formal and official. The word is commonly associated with police investigations of criminal activity, but it is used in many other contexts to refer to the process of investigating—systematically finding and examining evidence. Example: After a six-month investigation, this news organization uncovered widespread corruption. The first records of the word investigation come from the 1400s. Investigation is the noun form of the verb investigate, which derives from the Latin verb investÄ«gāre, meaning “to follow a trail” or “to search out.” If the word investigation makes you picture Sherlock Holmes following footprints with a magnifying glass, you’re on the right trail—the vestig part of the word can be traced back to the Latin word vestÄ«gium, meaning “footprint.” (This is also the basis of the English word vestige, meaning “a trace or visible evidence of something.”) The first step in any investigation is usually to gather all of the evidence or information. Investigators then analyze it and begin to develop conclusions. Criminal investigations are intended to determine who committed a crime (and how and why). In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is responsible for conducting investigations of federal crimes. But there are many other types of investigations. Investigative journalists perform investigations to uncover crimes and other wrongdoing. A business or other organization might order an internal investigation (meaning one performed inside the organization) to determine if there is misconduct or how misconduct was allowed to happen. Research (such as scientific research) often involves investigation, but the word investigation usually implies a more narrow focus.