5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem by repeating the question "Why?" Each answer forms the basis of the next question. The "5" in the name derives from an anecdotal observation on the number of iterations needed to resolve the problem.
The technique was formally developed by Sakichi Toyoda and was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies. In other companies, it appears in other forms. Under Ricardo Semler, Semco practices "three whys" and broadens the practice to cover goal setting and decision making.
Not all problems have a single root cause. If one wishes to uncover multiple root causes, the method must be repeated asking a different sequence of questions each time.
The method provides no hard and fast rules about what lines of questions to explore, or how long to continue the search for additional root causes. Thus, even when the method is closely followed, the outcome still depends upon the knowledge and persistence of the people involved.
• Why? - The battery is dead. (First why)
• Why? - The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)
• Why? - The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)
• Why? - The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (Fourth why)
• Why? - The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)
NB: else have no commercial or contractual affiliation with Google, Google Custom Search or Alphabet Inc. else currently have no commercial or contractual affiliation with any entity other than it's single founder (Ted Hunt).
This site is a working alpha prototype of Socratic Search / else for demonstration purposes only. As a prototype Information Retrieval (IR) model this demo seeks to subverts Google Custom Search to illustrate the differentiation of biases seen between a wide spectrum of search queries and information sources.
The further development of else as a search platform to beta stage is intended to decouple future prototypes from Google Custom Search in order to perform search queries independently and autonomously. The reality of infrastructural capacity (operational / technical / financial ) needed to index the web in todays digital landscape in effect dictates that independent and alternative search engines have no ability enter the market without subverting an existing open platform (and perhaps provide further reasoning why domestic search engines are currently in a state of stasis). Such realities are especially restrictive when alternatives are being explored by single individuals attempting to provide points of nano-resistance to increasingly monolithic narratives of progress.
The limitations of using an existing search platform do not yet allow Socratic Search to offer a fully intuitive and intelligent service. Only a single search button upon the landing page works at present. Search results can be filtered using the same titled tabs, however.