Write Thread The readings from this module highlight the basics of “why?” behind various failure states. In the Watch item, the presenters talk about a root cause analysis technique called The 5 Why

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The readings from this module highlight the basics of “why?” behind various failure states. In the Watch item, the presenters talk about a root cause analysis technique called The 5 Whys. Created by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Corporation, the 5 Whys has developed into a widely accepted problem-solving tool that is part of Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, and Six Sigma.

For this discussion, think about a basic problem you are trying to solve. It does not have to be aviation-related for this exercise, but that is preferred. The 5 Whys will work for basic troubleshooting where systems are not interdependent and for performance-related issues.

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Download The 5 Whys Worksheet (found in the Read: 5 Why Template Learn item), and dig deeper into your problem to help you identify the root cause(s). Utilize the worksheet to help you discover the root cause of your problem. Be sure to list effective counter measures for each why.

Note: The worksheet has two tabs – one is the 5 whys, the other is a fishbone diagram. Use the one you feel is most helpful for solving your problem.

In the Discussion thread, state your problem, and list your “whys,”  along with the counter measures for each. Please give any additional information that may be necessary to bring clarity. It is expected that there will be a paragraph defining the issue, and then the listed whys and counter measures.

Some points to remember:

  • Don’t just list 5 separate reasons for your problem. Each answer should only refer to the question and item above it.
  • Your answer cannot be “because of a person.” It can be because of policy or a procedure implemented by a person, but not about the person themselves (i.e. not “It’s because Joe makes bad decisions”).
  • It’s possible you may have to ask more than 5 questions, or it’s possible you could find your answer in 4 questions. Try to dig down to 5 answers.
  • There can be multiple root causes for the problem.

Your initial post should demonstrate course-related knowledge and application of the 5 Whys root cause analysis tool.


Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt in the Discussion. Each thread must demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread,  The thread must contain at least 500 words.  For each thread, the student must support his/her assertions with at least two scholarly citations in APA format.  Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years. Acceptable sources include the most current sources you can find which likely means the Internet. Make sure to cite all facts in text.

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If you have ever been around children, you’ve heard their repeated questioning, “Why?” Their curiosity is part of their learning process. As troubleshooters we can utilize the child-like approach and ask, “Why?” to drill down to the root cause of the problem. In week one, the RED approach introduced us to “Evaluate arguments” where we asked, “What else could it be?”A root cause analysis is precisely what the name implies. The 5 Whys approach is one of many RCA tools. A root cause analysis is about getting to the heart of the problem and is useful in both the technical and non-technical environment. No spark on an igniter? There’s little use changing the igniter if the issue is the exciter box. There is no use in changing the exciter box if the circuit breaker is popped. Starting with the surface symptom, the 5 Whys approach continually asks, “Why?” in order to identify and address the problem and not simply the issues.In the 1930s, Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries, developed the 5 Whys technique. It became popular in the 1970s and Toyota still uses it to solve problems today.As we have discussed in prior weeks, a systems understanding is critical to efficient problem solving. This approach can aid in systems understanding and ensuring that you are addressing the issue at hand.

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