Investigate allows you to learn about a phenomenon that occurs in someone else. Use it when an idea or behavior someone is presenting seems poor, confusing, or simply interesting.


  1. Act as if you were a detached but fascinated inquirer, asking questions until your curiosity is satisfied or you no longer want to ask questions.


  • Ask well-formed questions.
  • Ask only questions that will increase your understanding.
  • Ask questions only if the subject is engaged and appears ready to answer more.
  • Refrain from offering opinions.
  • Do not ask leading questions where you think you know how he or she will answer.
  • If you cannot remain a detached, curious investigator with no agenda, stop using the protocol until you can come back to it and keep these commitments.


  • Do not theorize about the subject or provide any sort of diagnosis.
  • Consider using the following forms for your questions:
    • What about X makes you Y Z?
    • Would you explain a specific example?
    • How does X go when it happens?
    • What is the one thing you want most from solving X?
    • What is the biggest problem you see regarding X now?
    • What is the most important thing you could do right now to help you with X?
  • Ineffective queries include the following:
    • Questions that lead or reflect an agenda.
    • Questions that attempt to hide an answer you believe is true.
    • Questions that invite stories.
    • Questions that begin with “Why.”
  • Stick to your intention of gathering more information.
  • If you feel that you will explode if you can’t say what’s on your mind, you shouldn’t speak at all. Consider checking your intention or Check Out.

Copyright © 2010 Jim and Michele McCarthy

(The Core is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. For exact terms see The Core is considered as source code under that agreement. You are free to use and distribute this work or any derivations you care to make, provided you also distribute this source document in its entirety, including this paragraph.)