Records, files, documentary evidence, and other written and oral forms of information are the “stock in trade” of the good investigator. In order to track clues in a typical investigative pattern, some form of documentary, testimonial, or physical evidence is necessary. The investigator must depend upon more than opinion or rumor. Critical to the success of any investigation is the integrity and substantiality of information gathered. For example, a security firm that is hired to determine the character of a potential employee may attach any or all of the following to its written report:

Past character references

Offense reports

Military reports

Litigation documents

Credit history reports

Deeds, titles, or insurance documents

Arrest reports