Scots police have teamed up with academics to find out more about what drives adults to go missing.
People who have previously gone missing will be among those quizzed by the research team.
The project, involving researchers from the universities of Glasgow and Dundee and Grampian Police, will also look at where missing people go, how searches are carried out and how their relatives cope with being left behind.
Assistant Chief Constable Colin Menzies, of Grampian Police, said: "Missing people represent a significant challenge for the police due to the volume of cases and the potential risks missing people face.
"Building on the work we have already conducted, this new qualitative research will significantly add to our knowledge of missing person behaviour and support how we approach missing persons operationally."
About 300,000 people go missing every year in the UK, but around three-quarters return home within three days.
Experts said relatively little research has been carried out into the reasons why adults go missing.
Entitled Geographies of Missing People, the project, being conducted in partnership with the Metropolitan Police, will draw on interviews with those who have previously gone missing, as well as the families of missing people.
Leading the project, Dr Hester Parr, of the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at Glasgow University, said a range of research questions exist such as what led to thedisappearance, why did they leave, where did the person go.
"These are the questions that lie at the heart of this research which we intend to gain insight into to help support police and other organisations tasked with finding missing people at a strategic and operational level," he added.
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