Experienced private investigators realize the importance of professional investigative reports. Reports you provide your client 'live' a long time and are read by several people weeks, months or years after you completed the investigation. Professional private investigators view the finished report as product that advertises their firm. People that are impressed with your work may contract with you in the future.
First step in creating professional reports is to avoid common mistakes that create a bad impression of your work:
To improve your finished report product, take time, a lot of time, in completing the final report. Use the following steps every time you write a report. Your finished reports will improve immediately!!!
This is time consuming but it is your "finished product". Your completed report will create an impression with many individuals for weeks to come. Invest the time to get it right.
8/13/2013 02:56:09 pm
Improving this one skill will pay dividends that cannot be calculated! In almost any business, the only thing that you can truly control is your reputation. If you offer the client value for the dollars they spend with you, they will recommend you to others. The obverse is also true if you present them with slipshod results and a poorly written statement of the facts. If this happens, they will go out of their way to protect their friends and family, while hurting your business, by recommending that clients use anyone other than you. So protect your future by giving the client a concise and relevant report. You will reap dividends for the effort.
9/6/2013 03:07:20 pm
In today's society customer service is everything. Clients spend a lot of money when hiring an investigator and expect great work. A report shows everything, it will be the back bone of your company. When reading, clients can tell when you are just rambling to fill up a page. A detailed report with specific facts is what the clients want. It can lead you and your company to greater heights. The report is one of the final pieces to the end of the investigation and you want the client to feel their money was well spent. So in the end a great detailed report can lead to wonderful things in the future.
1/29/2014 08:35:42 am
As in most aspects of life, you only get one chance to create a first impression. A well prepared report is critical! I have always told my directs that they should write their reports as if they would have to defend them before a Congressional Inquiry Panel. It gets the point across!
4/28/2014 03:10:42 am
I have question if my report were up to par and this article sums it up for me, I need to work on this skill, I try to keep only what is necessary into the reports. My short comings revolve around proofreading and minor spelling errors and Homonyms, rereading more than once and in the outlined Method will help immensely.
4/28/2014 10:43:53 am
Anyone who has been in the security or private investigation business for a length of time can speak to the criticality of report writing. A poorly written report immediately raises doubt with the reader concerning the professionalism of the author. Simple grammar and spelling should not be taken for granted. It is also important to remember the intended reader for many reports may be legal counsel, either as a client of the investigator or opposing counsel who will base a cross examination on facts presented in the report.
9/28/2014 11:05:53 am
The article concerning report writing is very telling. After thirty plus years in law enforcement I have written and approved many reports. The individual investigator is evaluated by his/her ability to communicate orally and in writing.
crystal l turnage
10/28/2014 03:39:20 am
The article is very informative to understanding the basics about report writing. Being in law enforcement for the past 15 years has afforded me the ability learn my craft and be a good report writer. Knowing that every detail is important to the report as well as understanding that you are telling a story to other who may not have the background as you can help in grasping that you should tell the story in detail yet so that the common man/woman can comprehend the report.
2/5/2015 01:15:36 pm
First of all, good article. The report that an investigator writes needs to tell the story of what happened in such a way that any ordinary citizens could read it, understand it, and present those same facts in a court of law without any confusion.
3/11/2015 04:36:31 pm
This article is important for professional investigators because writing error-free report shows professionalism. In addition, the use of active voice versus passive voice in your report is a must. Without a doubt, a well written research report for your client shows clarity, conciseness, and brevity.
3/18/2015 03:08:09 pm
Successful practitioners have longed realized the significance and impact of report writing. I agree that grammatical errors, spelling, or the general lack of care is unacceptable with today's resources. Considering the speed of business today, we have to resist the temptation to rush our reports to completion. I'm no scholar. I've been guilty of using unnecessary language and including irrelevant details. It wasn't until recently that I realized that in some cases, less is more!
4/13/2015 05:08:24 am
Writing a good detailed report is essential for any type of investigation. The content, grammar, and organization of the report not only reflects on the investigators ability to do their job, but their attention to detail, and ability to document their findings. If it isn't documented, it didn't happen. Therefore, reports must have all of the fundamental 5 W's, as well as proper grammar and organization.
12/31/2015 03:19:36 pm
The essential component that changes the characteristics of report writing from Good to "Great" is your attention to Details....!
1/18/2016 09:53:48 am
The report is the most important ,if it is not documented ,it didn't happen
2/12/2016 11:16:31 am
Great article. These are very simple yet effective steps that can be applied to any type of report or writing assignment.
2/22/2016 01:14:40 pm
Reporting writing is by far one of the most essential parts of a case!!! These simple steps are so important!! Great article!!!
6/3/2016 02:05:54 pm
If we agree that the primary product an investigator provides is the report, then we can agree that the success of the investigator's business is hinged upon the quality of the report. Accurate well-written reports are essential to the customer's perception of value and satisfaction in terms of hiring the investigator, and are a determining factor in repeat or referral business. As well the reputation of the investigator amongst peers and the industry is influenced by his or her ability to effectively communicate.
9/13/2016 09:47:04 am
The ability to write a proper report directly reflects the professionalism of the investigator. The final work product must be something that is accurate and will assist in a proper recall when being challenged about the contents.
9/28/2016 08:28:33 pm
You are what you write. The final report is a direct reflection of you and the amount of effort you spent on a given case. Give the client what they paid for, do your job and get hired again. Professional reports answer the questions before there asked and plugs holes before the boat breaks in half.
11/28/2016 11:25:21 am
Report writing is crucial to you as an investigator. This write up is a good reminder of what to include as well as what to leave out. I for one have to make sure I don't put too much detail in my reports. Detail is important but too much detail makes for confusion and being long winded. Also spell check is an outstanding tool to use when proof reading your report. I put all my reports on Microsoft Word to proof read them. You don't want your employer to read your report and find a bunch of errors. It will reflect poorly on your work as a whole.
12/2/2016 02:54:02 pm
Nothing beats good grammar and a concise report, great tips on proof reading.
12/8/2016 10:18:58 am
As always it is important to proof read your reports. Sometimes I have others that I trust proof read them also.
12/26/2016 12:38:30 pm
Having written reports for 31 years as a criminal investigator, I thought mine were fine. This article identified some poor habits I developed since retirement.
1/22/2017 10:39:27 pm
Concise and clear. Great article. I have been writing and editing reports for the intelligence community for years and the same principles apply, especially about only including the necessary information. It is important when writing information reports to write keeping your audience in mind. Often people reading investigators' reports are inundated with paperwork and other work. It is more time consuming and less efficient for them to sift through an unnecessarily long report with flowery language when the message could have been conveyed in a more clear cut manner.
6/22/2017 01:21:11 pm
Excellent article highlighting the many important aspects of good report writing. Communicating effectively, via written reports, is an essential skill within law enforcement, security, and the legal professions. Being able to accurately and succinctly document activities and actions of events can be just as important as the decisions made during the events. As others have noted, inferior reports can have major impacts to litigation and are, at times, the only resource an investigator can use during proceedings.
11/26/2017 01:03:36 am
Report writing is probably the most important aspect of displaying your professionalism to your client and new potential clients. After, many years of testifying in open court and having my reports shown on the big screen it has made me more conscious of the work I present in my professional and personal life.
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