Difference Between
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Investigation vs. Research: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Investigation is a systematic inquiry to uncover facts or information, frequently employed in legal or criminal contexts. Research is a systematic study or exploration in any field aimed at establishing facts or principles.
Investigation vs. Research

Key Differences

Investigation primarily involves a systematic process aimed at uncovering specific details, often related to a particular incident or allegation. In contrast, research is a broader exploration of knowledge, usually conducted to expand understanding in a scientific or academic field. Both involve systematic methods, but their objectives differ significantly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023
Investigation is often reactive, initiated in response to an event or a suspicion, such as a criminal investigation. Research, on the other hand, is proactive, driven by curiosity or scientific inquiry to contribute new knowledge or insights. Both require critical thinking, yet investigation focuses more on solving or explaining a specific situation.
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Nov 27, 2023
In investigation, the investigator follows clues and evidence to reach a conclusion about a particular case. Research involves formulating a hypothesis and then conducting experiments or studies to prove or disprove it. While investigation often seeks to answer "what happened," research asks "why" or "how."
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The methods used in investigation and research can overlap, like data analysis, but their context and application differ. Investigations might include interviews, forensic analysis, or surveillance, while research often involves experiments, surveys, and theoretical analysis. Both are systematic but tailored to their unique objectives.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Ethical considerations in both investigation and research are paramount, but they manifest differently. In investigations, maintaining confidentiality and legal integrity is crucial, while in research, ethical considerations often revolve around ensuring the validity and reliability of findings and respecting subjects' rights.
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Comparison Chart

Purpose

To uncover facts about a specific incident or claim
To generate new knowledge or understand a concept
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Approach

Reactive, often following an event
Proactive, driven by inquiry or hypothesis
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Focus

Specific, targeted issues
Broad, seeking general understanding
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Methods

Interviews, surveillance, forensic analysis
Experiments, surveys, theoretical analysis
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Ethical Considerations

Confidentiality, legal integrity
Validity, reliability, subject rights
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Investigation and Research Definitions

Investigation

The act of exploring or analyzing a subject or problem.
The scientist's investigation of the data revealed new insights.
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Research

Systematic investigation to establish facts.
Her research into climate change contributed to the scientific community.
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Investigation

The process of inquiring into a matter thoroughly.
His investigation into the company's practices raised several questions.
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Research

The act of seeking knowledge or information about a topic.
His research on ancient civilizations was fascinating.
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Investigation

A procedure carried out to gather information about a crime.
The detective's investigation led to the arrest of the suspect.
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Research

A detailed study of a subject to discover new information.
The team's research on the drug led to a breakthrough in treatment.
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Investigation

A detailed examination or inquiry into something.
The police conducted an investigation into the burglary.
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Research

Scholarly or scientific inquiry or investigation.
His research paper on economics was well-received.
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Investigation

A systematic search for the truth.
Her investigation into the historical records clarified the timeline.
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Research

Careful study of a given subject, field, or problem, undertaken to discover facts or principles.
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Oct 19, 2023

Investigation

The act or process of investigating
A politician under investigation.
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Research

An act or period of such study
Her researches of medieval parish records.
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Investigation

A careful examination or search in order to discover facts or gain information.
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Oct 19, 2023

Research

To engage in or perform research.
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Investigation

The act of investigating; the process of inquiring into or following up; research, especially patient or thorough inquiry or examination
The investigation into the crime has led to various leads as well as plenty of dead ends.
Despite thorough investigation, the perpetrator of the attacks remains unknown.
Carry out an investigation
The matter is awaiting investigation
The case is still under investigation.
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Research

To study (something) thoroughly so as to present in a detailed, accurate manner
Researching the effects of acid rain.
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Investigation

The act of investigating; the process of inquiring into or following up; research; study; inquiry, esp. patient or thorough inquiry or examination; as, the investigations of the philosopher and the mathematician; the investigations of the judge, the moralist.
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Research

To do research for
Research a magazine article.
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Investigation

An inquiry into unfamiliar or questionable activities;
There was a congressional probe into the scandal
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Research

Diligent inquiry or examination to seek or revise facts, principles, theories, applications, etc.; laborious or continued search after truth.
The research station that houses Wang and his team is outside Lijiang, a city of about 1.2 million people. File:The research station that houses Wang and his team is outside Lijiang.ogg
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Investigation

The work of inquiring into something thoroughly and systematically
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Research

A particular instance or piece of research.
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Research

(transitive) To search or examine with continued care; to seek diligently.
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Research

(intransitive) To make an extensive investigation into.
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Research

(transitive) To search again.
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Research

Diligent inquiry or examination in seeking facts or principles; laborious or continued search after truth; as, researches of human wisdom; to research a topic in the library; medical research.
The dearest interests of parties have frequently been staked on the results of the researches of antiquaries.
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Research

Systematic observation of phenomena for the purpose of learning new facts or testing the application of theories to known facts; - also called scientific research. This is the research part of the phrase "research and development" (R&D).
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Research

To search or examine with continued care; to seek diligently.
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Research

Systematic investigation to establish facts
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Research

A search for knowledge;
Their pottery deserves more research than it has received
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Research

Inquire into
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Research

Attempt to find out in a systematically and scientific manner;
The student researched the history of that word
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Research

Intensive study of materials and sources to establish facts.
Her research in the library uncovered rare manuscripts.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What drives research?

Curiosity or scientific inquiry to contribute to knowledge in a field.
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What is the primary goal of an investigation?

To uncover specific facts or information, often about a particular event or allegation.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What is a hypothesis in research?

A proposed explanation or theory that research aims to test or validate.
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What ethical considerations are important in research?

Ensuring the validity, reliability of findings, and respecting subjects' rights.
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How does investigation differ from research in methodology?

Investigation often uses methods like interviews and forensic analysis, while research uses experiments, surveys, and theoretical study.
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Can research lead to new theories or concepts?

Yes, research often aims to develop new theories or enhance understanding of a concept.
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Are investigations confidential?

Often, yes, especially in legal or sensitive matters.
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Is the outcome of an investigation always conclusive?

Not always; some investigations may result in inconclusive or open-ended findings.
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Can investigation involve research techniques?

Yes, investigations can use research methods like data analysis to uncover facts.
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How is the success of research measured?

By the contribution it makes to the field, its findings' validity, and its impact on further studies.
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What is the focus of investigation?

It focuses on solving or explaining a specific case or situation.
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Is investigation always conducted by law enforcement?

No, investigations can be conducted by various professionals, including journalists, researchers, and corporate investigators.
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Can investigations be biased?

Yes, there's a risk of bias, which is why objectivity and following systematic methods are crucial.
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Can investigations lead to legal actions?

Yes, especially in criminal or corporate investigations.
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Is prior knowledge necessary for conducting research?

Some background knowledge is often required, but research also aims to explore the unknown.
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Are investigations always related to criminal activities?

No, investigations can also relate to non-criminal matters like academic or corporate inquiries.
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Can research be interdisciplinary?

Yes, research often spans multiple disciplines to provide comprehensive insights.
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What role does peer review play in research?

It ensures the credibility and reliability of research findings.
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What is the role of experimentation in research?

Experimentation tests hypotheses and helps validate or refute theories.
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Are findings from investigations always made public?

Not necessarily, as some may be confidential or sensitive.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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