5Ws and 1H framework

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Meaning of 5Ws and 1H


5Ws and 1H definition

The 5Ws and 1H technique is a simple strategy used by investigative journalists, detectives, and researchers to collect a complete and accurate story. The idea behind this method is that if you can identify the answers to these six questions, you should have a full version of events. These six questions are: what, why, when, where, who, and how.

The 5Ws and 1H framework is a super simple but seriously effective method for collecting information. It's an easily memorized list that journalists and other researchers can reflect on whenever they're collecting information in the heat of the moment. 

The 5Ws and 1H method is also helpful for delivering information. When writing or providing a story, addressing the answers to each of these questions can give your audience a holistic sense of the story you're sharing.

Why are 5Ws important?

The 5Ws are important because they effectively touch upon the core components of a story. If you can answer these five questions, then you likely have a solid grasp of the story at hand. It also provides you with a framework for adding details to your story, because you already have the foundation to get the core story across. 

You can also adapt the 5Ws and 1H technique to project management. This is particularly useful for focusing on a complex project and ensuring that you and everyone on your team shares a common vision. Who are your stakeholders, why are you developing this product, how are you going to go about it, what is the scope of your project, etc.?

Examples of questions

What examples

  • What is the budget for your project?

  • What does your target audience want?

  • What will you need for your project to succeed?

  • What risks is your project assuming?

  • What are the milestones you need to hit?

Why examples

  • Why are you developing this product?

  • Why does your target audience want this product?

  • Why is your product running into issues?

  • Why does this product make sense for your brand?

  • Why have you chosen each member of your team to work on this?

When examples

  • When should this project be completed?

  • When does each milestone need to be completed?

  • When will product testing need to take place?

  • When should you transition product development to product support and maintenance?

Where examples

  • Where will your product be deployed?

  • Where will you be working on your project?

  • Where will your users be using this product?

  • Where is this product going to be manufactured?

  • Where does your product need to function?

Who examples

  • Who is going to be using this product?

  • Who will be working on the development of this project?

  • Who are your stakeholders?

  • Who will benefit from this product?

  • Who are your current and potential competitors?

How examples

  • How will your product be developed?

  • How is this product going to work?

  • How long is this product supposed to last?

  • How will your target user benefit from using this product?

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General FAQ

What are 5Ws and 1H questions?
The 5Ws and 1H questions are six questions (What, Why, When, Where, Who, and How) that journalists use to gather the core facts of a story. They can also be applied to project management.

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