Investigative Process

Inspect › Analyze › Deliver

The engineering/scientific framework under which all investigations are conducted is the Scientific Method. In short, the scientific method mandates a set of investigative steps for conducting a scientifically sound forensic investigation.  These steps are illustrated here. A concise and relevant explanation of the scientific method appears in NFPA 921 – Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.

When conducted properly the scientific method may yield a "Final Hypothesis" representing the scientific/engineering explanation for the incident that is uniquely consistent with all the facts of the incident. Of course, if a shortage of information (facts) exists, then competing failure hypotheses may not necessarily be reduced to the required number of one. Here, an "Inconclusive" verdict must be rendered.