Fishbone Diagram

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This tool can be used at any stage of the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle but is particularly useful in the planning phase.

This document gives the description, advantages, essentials and step-by-step instructions on how to construct a Cause & Effect (Fishbone) Diagram.

Use this site to  :

  • Where can you use the Fishbone Diagram in the PDSA Cycle?
  • Why Use the Fishbone in the Classroom
  • Categorize many potential causes of a problem or issue in an orderly way.
  • It helps to analyze what is really happening in a process.
  • It can help students learn about new processes and procedures in the classroom or school setting.
  • This is an example of a Fishbone:
  • Ways to use the
    (cause and effect)
    Fishbone Diagram
  • Why are students:

not paying attention in class?

forgetting their homework?

doing the wrong assignment?

being late to school?

doing poorly on tests?

missing school?

taking too long to do an assignment?

losing papers?

  • Things to remember about the Fishbone Diagram
  • There should be no judgments made about ideas offered from students.
  • Everyone will have an opinion about what causes a problem. Organizing these ideas improves the chance that good ideas can be tested.
  • Label the “main bones” of the diagram in ways that are best for your problem or event.
  • Use the Fishbone Diagram to help solve problems as well as making plans.
  • Relations Diagram
    Fishbone Diagram
  • Use the Relations Diagram when students are having trouble getting to the root problem because only symptoms seem to be apparent.
  • Use the Fishbone Diagram when students have many ideas and or opinions about the causes of the problem.


Fishbone Template cause_effect_2

Fishbone Template (cause and effect)


Fishbone Diagram for Defining Appropriate School Behaviors

Students in the Functional Social Coping Skills Departments (Autism/Emotional Disorders with cognitive Impairment) used the fishbone diagram to understand the behaviors that were appropriate in different locations around the school. This activity was adapted with pictures for students who cannot verbalize.

Published on January 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm Comments (0)

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