6 Interrogatives – The Mystery of Five W’s and One H

interrogatives The 6 interrogatives, What, Why, When, Where, Who and How, as it turns out, are actually the simplest way to break the code of simple, as well as complex, problems. Surprised? Don’t be. When you think about it, it happens all the time. For example, scientists and journalists use interrogatives as their approach every time they write a report. That’s not all… with this short guide, you’ll soon be able to do the same thing in your own life as well. So here we go, 6 simple interrogatives to use to solve your day-to-day life problems and hopefully make your life a little easier as well.

Deleting unnecessary information

Are you stuck with a problem? Unable to reach to a conclusion? Then try using this simple method of code-breaking.

Believe, it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will. ~ Norman Vincent Peale (Tweet this)

Normally when we are caught up in a problem we get carried away with unnecessary details. The problem is, all that does is lead to confusion.

When if’s and but’s get attached, we start losing focus from our main agenda. All of this, of course, leads to frustration while the problem still remains. So clear out the clutter and focus on the necessary information to help you solve your problems. How? Read on.

Take a systematic approach

The answers to these 6 interrogatives helps us to take a systematic, planned approach to solving problems. In other words, the 5 W’s and 1 H helps to break the problem—big or small—into plain steps. Remember back in school when you were advised to break a mathematical problem down into simpler steps? The idea was to see things clearly, and in a more organized manner. This is the same thing. Not only that, but breaking a big problem into smaller pieces also reduces the intensity of the problem and creates a space for fresh, new ideas.

Remember, no problem is a problem once it has a solution.

How do interrogatives work? Let’s brainstorm

While training my audience I simply advise them to think about a problem—simple or complex, professional or personal—with which they are struggling. Then I show the questions (in no particular order) and ask them to write down their answers (in as few words as possible). The exercise usually goes something like this:


What is the specific problem? What are the possible solutions?


Who, specifically, are affected because of this problem? Who, specifically, will benefit from the solution?


When did it start? By when do I want it resolved?


Where did/does it happen? Where did it all start?


Why did it start? Or why it happened? (Finding the root cause)

And finally,


How can I solve the identified problem? How can I make this solution work? How will I do things differently in the future? The majority of the time, this introspection concludes with an eye-opening condition. By the end of the brainstorming exercise you might realize that…

  • The perceived problem was not even the actual problem.
  • The problem was not as huge as you thought it was.
  • The solution was hidden within the problem itself.
  • The problem doesn’t need complex solutions. Simple steps can sort out the issue.

As Rudyard Kipling wrote in his poem, The Elephant’s Child: 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.

In the end, always remember….. Even the best of all methods will prove futile, whether on a simple or complex problem, until the time you believe in yourself and are genuinely interested in resolving the matter. And when you are, these simple interrogatives can help!


About the Author

Vandana is a Personality Enhancement Trainer associated with various Corporate and Management Colleges.

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