Folks, auditing is ALL about Objective Evidence. As in a police investigation, you have to have evidence and it has to be objective. I cannot say this often enough.
It should be noted that at times there will be a question as to whether or not the auditor s finding is, in fact, a nonconformance. Typically it is written up and a determination of its validity made later.
At the time of the finding, the most important part is that everyone agree on the facts and evidence which are in the spot light. I have seen many instances where a finding was written up only to be later dismissed . It may be an interpretative issue. Something may be found which clarifies why something was done as it was. Many things can invalidate a finding - every finding is different so there is no way to list them all here.
It exists and is retrievable
Not influenced by emotion or prejudice
Based on observation
Verbal or documented
May be quantitative
Within the systems being audited
Take Detailed Notes!!!
ISO 19011 - Quality and Environmental Management Systems Auditing Forum Discussions