5 Whys Principle For Analytical Thinking Skill

by Junaid.Tahir
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Analytical thinking plays a vital role in character development and decision making. Teens who develop analytical thinking at an early stage have a stronger possibility to become future thought leaders. Analytical thinking has several benefits such as:

1- Understanding a specific situation from different aspects

2- Finding out multiple contributing factors for a problem that requires a solution.

3- Enhancing emotional intelligence skills by understanding someone from emotional and behavioral perspectives.

4- Preparing a plan (for a project or family event) by focusing on all key elements that need to be attended to.

Although this article ‘5 Whys Principle For Analytical Thinking Skill’ is intended for students, please note that there is no specific age for learning it. So, whether you are a teenager or a parent, this article should help you kickstart your journey of developing Analytical Skills.

5 Whys Principle For Analytical Thinking Skill
5 Whys Principle For Analytical Thinking Skill 15

Self Audit – Analytical Thinking

Let me initiate your learning process by asking these questions:
1-   Do you question why something has occurred?
2-   Do you consider if the problem has occurred because of some fault which could have been fixed? Or is this because of some human error which could have been controlled?
3-   Do you consider the quantum of the problem? How Small or big an impact it may have caused?
4-   Do you consider whether a specialist is required to eradicate the problem?
5-   Do you approach problem solving through breaking down the situation into smaller chunks and then addressing each one by one?

If the answer to most of the questions is No, then you need to ignite your thought process and start paying attention to the details associated with different events of your life. Let me explain this with 5 Whys Principle

5 Whys Principle For Analytical Thinking Skill

5 Whys Principle is used to find out the root cause of any problematic situation. Whenever you have a certain situation ask “WHY” at least 5 times to know the actual cause of the issue.

Let’s take a practical example to understand the 5 Whys principle and how it helps sharpen your analytical skills.

Imagine your kids could not reach school on time and they missed the first class. In this situation, you will apply the principle to find out the root cause.

1st Why: Why did the kids get late?

Answer: The school bus did not arrive on time.

2nd Why: Why the school bus did not arrive on time?

Answer: The bus tire was punctured

3rd Why: Why the puncture was not fixed last night?

Answer: Because the bus Fleet Supervisor did not perform his duty last night to check the tires of the bus.

4th Why: Why the Bus Fleet Supervisor was absent?

Answer: He was sick

5th Why: Why he did not inform the school about his sickness, or why school does not have a back-up resource to do the supervisor duty

Answer: The school has a shortage of resources and they must hire a back-up person or a quality manager to take care of such matters. Also school should have an emergency contract with a garage to fix the tire puncture issues within 30 minutes. Or school should have a mechanic to take care of most common issues. Or school should have one extra bus to manage the exceptions.

In this example, it is evident that the student could not reach school on time is note related to the driver performance instead school need to consider the improvement plans based on the 5 Whys analysis and conclusion  


Developing analytical thinking may take some effort but it is worth your time that you spend to learn this skill. Great analytical skills will help you make better decisions, drawing right conclusions, focusing on all possible angles for certain situations and eventually becoming a better human being and a great professional.

Additionally, here are a couple of resources with regards to personality development that you may want to consider reading:

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