A cause and effect diagram examines why something happened or might happen by organizing potential causes into smaller categories. It can also be useful for showing relationships between contributing factors. One of the Seven Basic Tools of Quality, it is often referred to as a fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram.
One of the reasons cause & effect diagrams are also called fishbone diagrams is because the completed diagram ends up looking like a fish's skeleton with the fish head to the right of the diagram and the bones branching off behind it to the left.
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