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Section 4. Analyzing Root Causes of Problems: The "But Why?" Technique

Tool 1: Discussion Guide for Identifying Root Causes

A note to all readers/participants: This exercise is designed to help practice identifying underlying factors that are behind a community problem. We are calling these underlying factors "root causes." To identify "root causes," we will be using a technique called "But Why?"

Goal: To analyze a community problem by trying to determine its most fundamental reason, or "root causes."

Task 1: Select one member of your group to act as the "asker." This Person will be the one asking the "But why?" questions.

Task 2: Chose a issue to examine, a specific problem. Once the specific problem is identified and described, your "asker" will guide you in identifying what your group considers to be the "root causes" of that problem. The identification of root causes should be made by answering the "But why?" questions.

Task 3: After you have identified some key root causes for your priority problem, discuss what approaches might be undertaken to remove or counteract those root causes.

Possible Approach: _____________________________________________________

Possible Approach: _____________________________________________________

Possible Approach: _____________________________________________________

At this point, you should look at all possible approaches and select the one that fits your problem better, the one that is the best solution.