Search Results for: hypothesis

  • Confirmation Bias – Can You Think It Away?

    As Francis Bacon once said: “The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion draws all things else to support and agree with it.” That concept has a scientific name – Confirmation Bias. Confirmation bias can have an impact on your root cause analysis results. If you use a system that has you develop […]

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  • 5 Cognitive Biases that Influence Incident Investigations

    Whether we admit it or not, we are constantly under the influence of cognitive biases that distort our thinking, influence our beliefs, and sway the judgments we make as investigators. Most of us are familiar with confirmation bias (looking for evidence to support a hypothesis, and rejecting any evidence that does not). However, did you […]

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  • Scientific Method and Root Cause Analysis

    I had someone tell me that the ONLY way to do root cause analysis was to use the scientific method. After all, this is the way that all real science is performed. Being an engineer (rather than a scientist), I had a problem with this statement. After all, I had done or reviewed hundreds (maybe […]

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  • Interviewing & Evidence Collection Tip: You can’t know the “why” before the “what”

    Hello and welcome to this week’s column focused on interviewing and evidence collection for root cause analysis of workplace incidents and accidents.  Last week we talked about the value of a planning SnapCharT®.  I’d like to take a moment to expand on that thought. Grasping at the “why” before the “what” is a common mistake […]

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  • To Hypothesize or NOT to Hypothesize … that is the Question!

    Yet again, another article in Quality Progress magazine (May 2017 – Solid Footings) suggests that the basis for a root cause analysis is a hypothesis. We have discussed the problems of starting a root cause analysis with a hypothesis before but it is probably worth discussing it one more time… Don’t start with the answer. […]

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  • Top 3 Reasons for Bad Root Cause Analysis and How You Can Overcome Them…

    I’ve heard many high level managers complain that they see the same problems happen over and over again. They just can’t get people to find and fix the problems’ root causes. Why does this happen and what can management do to overcome these issues? Read on to find out.   1. BLAME Blame is the […]

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  • Root Cause Analysis Used as an Important Tool to Identify Patient Safety Best Practices

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality did a study looking for proven methods of improving patient safety and healthcare outcomes. In that study, results of root cause analyses were used to find targets for improvement, look for effective techniques (proof of improvement), and provide potential areas for developing corrective actions (improvement initiatives). The report […]

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  • 7 Secrets of Root Cause Analysis

    Who’s Keeping the Secrets? In over 25 years of human factors and root cause analysis study, I’ve learned a few things that everyone should know. I don’t keep these root cause “best practices” a secret, but you would think that I did. Why? Because I find so many “experts” and lay people alike who don’t understand […]

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  • Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Accept Defeat – The Neuroscience of Screwing Up

    When can an accident teach us something about investigating accidents? When the accident helps us understand the human brain and it’s limitations. A story in Wired Magazine titled: “Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up” explains how scientists often disregard information that conflicts with their “hypothesis” and how this is caused by the way the […]

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  • Root Cause Analysis Tip: Are Simple Techniques Sometimes the Best?

    I received a piece of marketing material for a webinar claiming to teach “simple” root cause analysis techniques in just one hour. The marketing material included the quote that these basic techniques: “… are sometimes the best.“ Of course, they lost all credibility with me when they claimed to teach root cause analysis in 60 […]

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