Investigation vs Inquiry: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. The investigation involves a formal and systematic examination by authorized entities to gather evidence, establish facts, and determine the truth regarding a specific incident or misconduct. It follows rigorous methodologies and legal frameworks.
  2. The inquiry seeks information, knowledge, or understanding about a particular subject or issue. It can be conducted through various approaches, including interviews, research, or public hearings, and may lead to recommendations or findings.
  3. Investigations are focused on uncovering wrongdoing or misconduct, while inquiries are more exploratory, aiming to fill knowledge gaps, evaluate practices, or inform decision-making. Professionals with a legal authority carry out investigations, whereas inquiries can be conducted by individuals, organizations, or even governmental bodies.

What is Investigation?

An investigation is a systematic and formal method followed by examining the evidence or facts to solve any truth or problem. This process may include various methods to accomplish its goals: analyzing the data, gathering information from different sources, and interviewing witnesses.

This process is primarily conducted by P.I. (Private Investigators), law enforcement, or regulatory agencies in response to any specific event, crime, incident, or violation of law or policy. It aims to collect shreds of evidence and information so that the truth can be uncovered systematically or rightfully. This procedure may include legal implications to a severe extent.

What is Inquiry?

Inquiry is a peculiar process that involves seeking information from anyone or anywhere. It may be considered a part of any investigation. It can be conducted by anyone requiring any information, such as – organizations, individuals, or government agencies. Inquiry can be performed for a variety of topics, and maybe both informal or formal.

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The inquiry methodology includes observation, research, surveys, interviews, etc., depending upon its nature. Inquiry does not involve any legal implications until there isn’t any violation of law or policy violation. The primary aim of the inquiry is to collect information regarding any issue without taking any action.

Difference Between Investigation and Inquiry

  1. An investigation is a method or a process to examine evidence or facts to solve a problem or a case. In contrast, Inquiry is a way to take any information to clarify or understand any issue.
  2. The Investigation aims to collect evidence, uncover the truth, or stand for any disciplinary action. While on the other hand, the purpose of Inquiry is to collect information regarding any issue without taking action.
  3. The investigation scope includes a specific crime, incident, or violation. At the same time, Inquiry includes various issues or topics that may be formal and informal.
  4. The methodology used in the Investigation process includes analyzing data, gathering physical evidence, and interviewing witnesses. In contrast, the methodology used in the Inquiry process includes observation, research, surveys, interviews, etc.
  5. Investigation might include legal implications so that it can be used in court. While on the other hand, Inquiry might not have any legal implication until it involves any violence of law or policy.
  6. An investigation is conducted by P.I. (Private Investigators), law enforcement, or regulatory agencies. On the other hand, Inquiry is conducted by anyone who needs any information.
  7. On the other hand, an investigation is conducted for a limited timeframe, and an Inquiry might be ongoing or conducted for a short period. 
  8. The outcome of the Investigation is a formal report, while comparatively, on the other hand, the outcome of the Inquiry is a report or a summary. 
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Comparison Between Investigation and Inquiry

Parameter of ComparisonInvestigationInquiry
DefinitionIt is a method or a process to examine evidence or facts to solve a problem or a caseIt is a way to take any information to clarify or understand any issue
PurposeCollect evidence, uncover the truth, or stands for any disciplinary actionCollect information regarding any issue without taking any action
ScopeIncludes a specific crime, incident, or violationIncludes various issues or topics and maybe both formal and informal
MethodologyIt includes analyzing data, gathering physical evidence, and interviewing witnessesIt includes observation, research, surveys, interviews, etc
Legal ImplicationsIt may have as can be used in courtDoes not have until involves any violation of law or policy
ParticipantsConducted by P.I. (Private Investigators), law enforcement, or regulatory agenciesConducted by anyone who needs any information
TimeframeDefiniteOngoing or a short period
OutcomeFormal reportReport or a summary
References
  1. https://www.proquest.com/openview/7966bdf472571ab608d601483b108cbe/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=40590

Last Updated : 17 August, 2023

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