What is an investigative questionnaire?

An investigative questionnaire is a structured investigative tool primarily intended for the detection of perpetrators, but also for clarifying the circumstances of the beginning of criminal acts or misdemeanors. It is also used to conduct investigations of adverse events undertaken by private detectives or corporate security professionals. It consists of sets of specially constructed questions to which potential perpetrator or people who might have knowledge of such events give written answers. It is especially suitable for conducting internal investigations when there is a probability that the perpetrator is in a certain circle of people. It can be used in printed or digital form. Most of the investigative questionnaire consists of standardized so-called polygraph questions designed to detect lies. In this sense, the investigative questionnaire is adaptable so that, with greater or lesser modifications, it can be used in the investigation of various forms of punishable actions such as theft, embezzlement, disclosure of business information and other harmful events in companies.

The central stage of the use of the investigative questionnaire in the conduct of criminal and internal investigations is the correct interpretation of the answers given by the respondents to the questions asked in the questionnaire. The goal of the interpretation is to recognize the indicators of lying or the indicators of telling the truth in the answers to questions and in this way relatively quickly select potential perpetrators and/or witnesses of some harmful behavior from people who are not connected to that event.

Competences for the correct implementation of the investigative questionnaire therefore imply knowledge of the creation of investigative questions, knowledge of methods for detecting lying in written statements and interpretation of answers to investigative questions, and the skill of conducting an investigative interview, which usually follows the use of an investigative questionnaire.