But why technique
By asking simple “why?” questions, this technique helps to identify assumed root causes and contextual conditions of a societal problem.
|Strenght of the method:||The method invites critical thinking about assumed root causes on equal footing. (It has a straight forward way to visualize the discussion which also allows to synthesize results from small group discussions on one sticky note wall.)|
|To be considered:|
Read here about the rationale of the brief factsheets (in comparison to method profiles of the td-net toolbox):
The method collects and visualizes assumed root causes of a societal problem to increase the understanding of a problem (and joint ownership).
|Location in td process phases:||Problem framing |
Problem analysis (if focus is on system knowledge; the method is less useful to focus is on transformational knowledge or target knowledge)
|Bridging thought styles:||The brainstorming format allows the collection of different perspectives on a societal problem on equal footing. Furthermore, by adding the question why here? to the question why?, different contextual conditions for (tackling) the root causes can be identified. In the above mentioned method description, different contextual conditions of communities are at stake, but it could also encompass different contextual conditions of thought collectives such as disciplines, professional associations/standards,…. (If you’re interested in adapting the method, please contact us: email@example.com).|
|Time required to implement the method:||1 hour – 1 day|
Facilitation ability to elicit the perception of everybody.
|Convener & participants:|
Open to anyone: Community, professionals, researchers, governmental bodies
For a detailed description of the method (online, open access), please visit:
Resource compilation in which it appears:
(designed for stakeholder engagement in general, without specific focus on research projects)
Main description provided by Christine Lopez; Video explicating the “but why” and “why here” method provided by Paul Evensen
Please note that method is an adaptation of the “5 Whys” technique, originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda.