If something has gone missing, conduct an investigation to find it. To do this, seek out details associated with its disappearance, asking questions and gathering evidence in order to find out what happened to it.

If you watch a lot of detective shows, it won’t surprise you to learn that the noun investigation traces back to the Latin words in-, meaning “into,” and vestigium, meaning “footprint, track.” An investigation may not always involve people looking for footprints at a crime scene, but that methodical gathering of details and other evidence associated with a crime or wrongdoing is at the heart of any investigation.

Definitions of investigation

n an inquiry into unfamiliar or questionable activities

fishing expedition
an investigation undertaken in the hope (but not the stated purpose) of discovering information
Type of:
enquiry, inquiry, research
a search for knowledge

n the work of inquiring into something thoroughly and systematically

Human Genome Project
an international study of the entire human genetic material
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an investigation of the component parts of a whole and their relations in making up the whole
count, counting, enumeration, numeration, reckoning, tally
the act of counting; reciting numbers in ascending order
police investigation, police work
the investigation of criminal activities
the application of empirical methods in any art or science
examination, scrutiny
the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)
examination, testing
the act of giving students or candidates a test (as by questions) to determine what they know or have learned
enquiry, inquiry
a systematic investigation of a matter of public interest
systematic investigation to establish facts
an investigation seeking answers
the act of putting into tabular form
tap, wiretap
the act of tapping a telephone or telegraph line to get information
a methodical examination or review of a condition or situation
PM, autopsy, necropsy, post-mortem, post-mortem examination, postmortem, postmortem examination
an examination and dissection of a dead body to determine cause of death or the changes produced by disease
checkup, health check, medical, medical checkup, medical exam, medical examination
a thorough physical examination; includes a variety of tests depending on the age and sex and health of the person
comparing, comparison
the act of examining resemblances
fine-tooth comb, fine-toothed comb
a method of examining in minute detail
follow-up, followup, reexamination, review
a subsequent examination of a patient for the purpose of monitoring earlier treatment
a careful and thorough inspection
look-over, once-over
a swift cursory examination or inspection
examination of the interior of an eye using an ophthalmoscope
palpation, tactual exploration
a method of examination in which the examiner feels the size or shape or firmness or location of something (of body parts when the examiner is a health professional)
detecting, detection, detective work, sleuthing
a police investigation to determine the perpetrator
scientific tests or techniques used in the investigation of crimes
the systematic gathering up of suspects by the police
11-plus, eleven-plus
(formerly in Britain) an examination taken by 11 and 12 year old students to select suitable candidates for grammar school
operations research
research designed to determine most efficient way to do something
means test
an inquiry into the financial position of someone applying for financial aid
an inquiry into the cause of an unexpected death
field work
an investigation carried out in the field rather than in a laboratory or headquarters
market research, marketing research
research that gathers and analyzes information about the moving of good or services from producer to consumer
research with the use of microscopes
an investigation conducted using a flexible surgical instrument to explore an injury or a body cavity
research project, scientific research
research into questions posed by scientific theories and hypotheses
visual examination of the interior of a hollow body organ by use of an endoscope
an examination of the front part of the eye to check the angle where the iris meets the cornea; it is used to distinguish between open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma
examination of the cornea with a keratoscope to detect irregularities in its anterior surface
examination of the nasal passages (either through the anterior nares or with a rhinoscope through the nasopharynx)
the act of scanning; systematic examination of a prescribed region
boarding and inspecting a ship on the high seas
study, survey
a detailed critical inspection
an examination of the characteristics of something
motion study, time and motion study, time study, time-and-motion study, time-motion study, work study
an analysis of a specific job in an effort to find the most efficient method in terms of time and effort
a detailed analysis
case study
a detailed analysis of a person or group from a social or psychological or medical point of view
chemical analysis, qualitative analysis
the act of decomposing a substance into its constituent elements
cost analysis
breaking down the costs of some operation and reporting on each factor separately
detailed critical analysis or examination one part at a time (as of a literary work)
fundamental analysis, fundamentals analysis
(stock exchange) the use of fundamentals as an investment strategy
technical analysis, technical analysis of stock trends
(stock exchange) analysis of past price changes in the hope of forecasting future price changes
close observation of a person or group (usually by the police)
blood count
the act of estimating the number of red and white corpuscles in a blood sample
census, nose count, nosecount
a periodic count of the population
counting backward from an arbitrary number to indicate the time remaining before some event (such as launching a space vehicle)
an inaccurate count
the counting of votes (as in an election)
an additional (usually a second) count; especially of the votes in a close election
sperm count
the act of estimating the number of spermatozoa in an ejaculate
inspection, review
a formal or official examination
bank examination
an examination of the affairs and records of a bank by a state or federal bank examiner
Type of:
activity directed toward making or doing something