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FISHBONE DIAGRAM

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					                                     FISHBONE DIAGRAM


“   Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.”

                                                                                    Plomer


O     VERVIEW

      Kaoru Ishikawa, an original founder of the total quality management movement,
      designed this tool for the business community. A fishbone diagram, like many
      problem-solving tools, is a process heuristic. Heuristic comes from the same Greek root as Eureka!
      meaning “to find”. Such strategies apply commonsense rules that increase the probability of solving
      some problem by efficiently zeroing attention on the problem or search space. This is where potential
      explanations, resolutions, or root causes are likely to be found.

      When you want groups of students to investigate cause and effect relationships, the Fishbone Diagram can
      stimulate the process. The diagram takes its name from the fact that the resulting figure resembles a fish
      skeleton. In this visual display, the spine of the fish is a line that leads to the outcome, generally given as
      a problem statement. Categories branch outward from the central stem. Side categories are major inputs
      that influence the outcome. Within each of the side branches is where the root causes or actual drivers of a
      problem lie. Intuition plays a major role in the successful application of cause and effect diagrams.




I
MPLEMENTING THIS ACTIVITY
      1. Prepare a clear and concise statement of the problem.
         • This is usually stated as a question. For example, why has the local winter flounder population
             dwindled in recent years?
         • Place this statement in the head of the fish.
      2. Either brainstorm or directly label beforehand, the major bones branching from the main stem. These
         are the major causes associated with the problem.
      3. Brainstorm the major details within each category that may be influencing the cause being
         considered.
         • Repeatedly ask “Why does this happen?”
         • On a transparency, place the responses as side branches from the major side branch.
      4. Analyze the completed fishbone diagram for most likely causes.
         • Prioritize these by placing them in rank order.
         • The higher the position on the list, the most probable the cause.
      5. Prepare a description of the most probable causes for the problem being investigated.



A     SSESSING THIS ACTIVITY

       1. In a brainstorming activity like this, student performance is not typically assessed.
       2. Teachers may want to general evaluate student effort and level of participation.
       3. Another possibility is to develop criteria for the description in step 5 and develop a corresponding
          rubric to evaluate student work.
C
•
    ONTENT AREA APPLICATIONS

    History: Why is the Middle East such a hotbed of terrorism?
•   Geography: What factors explain the current outsourcing trend of work from the U.S. to other parts of
    the world?
•   Environmental Science: What is causing the major continental glaciers of the world to shrink in size?




M    ANAGING THIS ACTIVITY

1. Prepare fishbone worksheets for each student.
2. Prepare a large laminated poster for the fishbone. Display in a prominent place. Use sticky notes for
   student responses.




R   EFERENCES

http://www.skymark.com/resources/tools/casue.asp
http://quality.enr.state.nc.us/tools/fishbone.htm
http://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/t000827.asp

				
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