Basic Field Guide to the Positive Deviance Approach

The Positive Deviance Initiative, Tufts University, 2010.

This article provides a basic overview of positive deviance, an asset-based approach to problem solving.


explanation of positive deviance, how to implement PD, the four phases of PD, ten criteria for determining if using PD is appropriate for the situation at hand

Best For

clergy and lay leaders of any faith tradition



Suggested Uses

  • Identify if a problem can be solved through a PD approach using the criteria listed.
  • Train facilitators in the PD approach by sharing this article.

About the Contributor

Tim Shapiro

Tim is president of the Indianapolis Center for Congregations – of which the CRG is a program. He began serving the Center in 2003 after 18 years in pastoral ministry. He holds degrees from Purdue University and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Tim’s interest in how congregations learn to do new things is represented in his book How Your Congregation Learns.

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