The Kipling method (5W1H)


The Five W’s and One H Method

1. Author: Rudyard Kipling (1865 –1936), English short-story writer, poet, and novelist.
2. History: The method gets its name from the content of a fragment of a poem by Rudyard Kipling in the tale “Elephant’s Child”(Just So Stories). Rudyard Kipling used a set of these questions to help trigger ideas in his writing.

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

3. The essence of the method

The Five W’s and One H Method represents a list of The Six Universal Questions: What? Why? Who? Where? When? and How?. The essence of the method consists in consistently formulation of these questions. Detailed, specific and original answers to the questions posed provides a more complete analysis of the problem, opens up additional opportunities and allows to formulate better solutions and decisions.

4. Main functions and scopes of application

1. The method is used as a technique for activating creative thinking, finding and developing new ideas.
2. The method can serve as the basis for Information Gathering and Problem Solving. It is useful in analyzing the problem, considering it from different points of view, as well as finding it’s new, and effective solutions.
3. It can also be used in the process of Decision Making and Communication, and for Opportunity Analysis.
4. These Six universal questions can be used as stimuli to get creative thinking going in business, research projects and many life problems.

5. Main principle

The significance of using the Five W’s and One H Method is that none of the questions can be answered with a simple yes or no.

6. Procedure

Step One: Define the problem or formulate the task.
Step Two: Write down the six basic questions in one column to structure your analysis.
Step Three: Consistently give extended answers to the questions
Step Four: Fix all emerging ideas, summarize and select the most successful ones.
Step Five: If necessary, ask a number of additional and extended questions from the prepared list. Develop as many questions as possible related to the opportunity that start with each of the six pronouns.

7. Additional and Extended questions

Depending on the specifics of the problem, situations and tasks, аadditional and advanced questions can be compiled and implemented.
1. What happened? What is the problem? What is in reality? What prevents? What is the most important thing in this situation? What is the alternative? What is next?
2. Why is this happening? Why was this done? Why is it important? Why does it affect? Why not?
3. When did it start? When will the peak and decline of activity? When is the best time for exposure? When will it end?
4. Where does this happen? Where is it? Where else? Where is the best place? Where to get more information?
5. Who’s stopping you? Who helps? Who is affected? Who can handle this? Who else is interested in this? Who won? Who can be an expert?
6. How much? How often? How to solve a problem? How to overcome this problem? How to fix it? How to change this? How to overcome these difficulties? How to use it? How do we know that the problem is solved?

8. Advantages

1. The method is simple, easy to implement and should require special training.
2. The Five W’s and One H questions work because they are short and direct.
3. These questions are universal and can be applied to many different situations and can be used in solving of many life problems.


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