Force Field Analysis

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Participatory Methods Tools
Dialect Mapping Tool
Bilingualism Tool
Domains of Language Use Tool
Appreciative Inquiry Tool
Cause and Effect Tree
Stakeholder Analysis
Force Field Analysis
Community Connection Tool
Traffic Light Tool
Wheel of Vitality
Church Domains Tool


The purpose of this tool is to help a group who has a goal or wants to solve a problem to identify the forces working for and against the goal or solution. The participants assess the relative strength of the forces and identify the forces which can be changed. Participants plan how to strengthen favourable forces, weaken negative forces or change negative forces into positive ones.


  • lots of rectangular pieces of paper
  • some bold markers to write with
  • lots of plastic markers of at least two colours
  • drawings of rocks, a horse/bullock/donkey and cart, extra animals


Step # Ask/Say Do
1 We have heard you mention X several times. Who can explain what you desire regarding X? (X can be either a problem or a goal) How can we summarize this? Please write this on this piece of paper. The first step is helping the people clearly state their goal or desired solution to a problem. Usually the goal or problem will have been mentioned during previous tools.
2 I would like to tell you a story. One day a man wanted to take things from his village into town using his cart. He harnessed his horse/bullock/donkey to the cart and began to go to town. On the way, he found many large stones in the road. Some of the stones were small enough that he could remove them from the road. He took his sledge hammer and broke some of the stones in to gravel and used that to fill in pot holes. At one point he borrowed a second horse/bullock/donkey to the cart to help pull the cart with more force. Finally the man reached town with his cart. Put down drawings as you talk.
3 We can think of your dream or goal as the goal, where the man wanted to pull the cart to. We can think of the horse/bullock/donkey as helping forces acting to get you to your goal. We can think of the big stones as preventing forces that are keeping you from reaching your goal.
4 Let’s think together about the forces that are helping you and preventing you from reaching your goal. The forces can be people, organizations, attitudes or activities. Write each force on a piece of paper. Place the forces acting for the goal under the horses and the forces acting against the goal under the stones.
5 Who will read for us all of the forces acting for the goal? As you think about these forces, which are the strongest forces? Place 3 to 4 markers to show which forces are strongest. Repeat for the forces acting against the goal.
6 To help you reach your goal, what can be done? Perhaps ask: What can be done about the rocks? What can be done about the horses? Wait for an answer.
7 Which of the forces acting for the goal might you be able to make even stronger? Put these markers to show which forces you might be able to change. Use a different color marker.
8 Which of the forces acting against the goal might you be able to make weaker? Put these markers to show which forces you might be able to change. Use the same color as for 7
9 Sometimes a force that acts against our goal can be turned into a force that works for the goal. Which negative forces might be turned into positive forces? Use the same color again. The goal here is to help them see that even small changes are possible for most of the forces.
10 These forces will not change by themselves. Which 2 to 4 forces would you like to begin making plans to change?
11 Form groups to work on plans for changing these forces. What steps do you need to take? Who else can be involved? When will you do each step?
12 Share your plan with the whole group.
13 This is a good start to planning. Decide when you will meet again. Invite others to join you. Keep working on your plans.


  • the title of this tool, if you share it with communities, might be difficult to understand

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