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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 139-140

Force field analysis: An effective tool in qualitative research

1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of Medical Education Unit and Medical Research Unit, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrsm.jcrsm_55_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Force field analysis: An effective tool in qualitative research. J Curr Res Sci Med 2017;3:139-40

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Force field analysis: An effective tool in qualitative research. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 31];3:139-40. Available from: https://www.jcrsmed.org/text.asp?2017/3/2/139/222422

Dear Sir,

Force field analysis has been acknowledged as an effective tool which can be used in qualitative research for enabling the systematic analysis of a wide range of factors (viz., people, available resources, customs, traditions, beliefs, attitudes, needs, desires, etc.) affecting any problem.[1] This tool was designed by Kurt Lewin, a psychologist, and it finds application in a wide range of fields such as social science, psychology, social psychology, community psychology, and management.[1] From the management perspective, it assists in the identification of all those factors which should be dealt and periodically monitored to enable the managers to assess the effectiveness of the modification.[2]

This analysis allows categorization of any problem in two domains, namely, factors or pressures which calls for maintenance of the existing status (restraining forces) and those factors which calls for bringing about an alteration in the existing situation and thus move towards the desired direction (driving forces).[1],[2] In this analysis, five steps are followed, with the first and foremost being to define the problem, and this needs for the researcher to understand the nature of the current situation which is unacceptable, and thus, it has to be modified.[1] However, it is important to differentiate those things which are delivering positive results and should not be made the part of a problem.[1]

This is followed by clearly specifying the change objective, which means where we actually want to reach by bringing about alterations in the existing scenario.[1] The next two steps deal with the recognition of driving and restraining forces.[1],[2],[3] The idea is to represent these forces in the form of a pictorial representation, by drawing a central line (proposed change) and mentioning driving forces for the proposed change on the right side of the line and restraining forces on the left side.[3] Each of these forces can be assigned a score on a numerical scale ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 being extremely weak and 5 being extremely strong.[1],[3] Furthermore, the strength of these forces in the diagram can be reflected by means of the length of the arrow toward the central line from either direction.[3] In addition, careful attention should be given toward the inter-relationship between the driving forces and the restraining forces to have a better assessment.[1]

The final step deals with the formulation of a comprehensive change strategy.[1] Even though the pictorial representation looks like a relatively stable situation, movement can be ensured by modifying the factors which are playing their part in maintaining this equilibrium.[1],[2],[3] The so-called change can happen either by ensuring strengthening of any of the driving forces or by removing some of the restraining forces.[1] In addition, this step should also look for the potential sequels (such as an increase in the level of resistance, development of newer association, and the emergence of the feeling of fear among people), which might arise because of the disturbance in the existing equilibrium.[1],[3] This approach has been utilized in various fields (medical, nursing, education, etc.), and is one of the effective participatory rural appraisal techniques, especially because of the pictorial nature of the tool, which can be easily comprehended by the rural community.[1],[2],[3],[4] In fact, the method can be adopted to ensure a change in community health practices and thus play a part in the resolution of the existing problems and growth of the rural community.[2],[4]

To conclude, force field analysis is an effective tool to ascertain and assess the positive and negative forces which can affect any situation, and due to its quantification nature, the tool can be used in a wide range of areas.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

MindTools. Force Field Analysis – Analyzing the Pressures for and Against Change; 2017. Available from: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_06.htm. [Last accessed on 2017 Sep 05].  Back to cited text no. 1
Dongre AR, Deshmukh PR, Gupta SS, Garg BS. An evaluation of ROME Camp: Forgotten innovation in medical education. Educ Health (Abingdon) 2010;23:363.  Back to cited text no. 2
Cathro H. Pursuing graduate studies in nursing education: Driving and restraining forces. Online J Issues Nurs 2011;16:7.  Back to cited text no. 3
MacDuffie H, DePoy E. Force field analysis: A model for promoting adolescents' involvement in their own health care. Health Promot Pract 2004;5:306-13.  Back to cited text no. 4

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