Personal tools


Patterns Constituents

Patterns Constituents

Each pattern contains the same fields


Should be a brief (1-10 word) descriptive and, hopefully, familiar noun-phrase that is indicative of the solution. It should be pared down to its essence (e.g. extraneous adjectives like "effective" should not be used.) The title should reflect the overall scope of the pattern and should be generic in the sense that the pattern is applicable in many situations. The pattern is not based on one a specific model nor on specific research insofar as it can be helped.


This attribute describes how generally applicable this pattern is.


This section should describe the essence of the problem in one or two sentences. It should include a description of the relevant forces and constraints, and how they interact. In some cases, entries will focus on problem constraints that a reader has never thought about.

The problem should be stated with conviction. This is not a place to be overly academic, the patterns shouldn't be overladen with qualifiers.


Description of situations under which the pattern applies (including when, where, who). Often includes background, discussions of why this pattern exists, and evidence for generality.


This section describes the empirical background of the pattern, evidence for its validity, range of ways that the pattern can be manifested. Note that this is the longest section (300 - 600 words) and this is the space where arguments are developed. A pattern doesn't have to be the invention of one person; in fact, it probably shouldn't be! Neither is this the place to discuss the results of a single study or effort. This section builds the case that the pattern is valid.

Since the patterns are intended to be useful, specific information is important. As the pattern itself is intended to be generic, the discussion area is probably the best place to present specific information. In the US, for example, every television and radio station is required to have a book available for public comments and media activists encourage citizens to add to this book and to ensure that it is kept up to date and is, in fact, made available to the public. But, since this is likely to be specific to the US it should be mentioned within the discussion area of the pattern, not as a pattern name. This is also the place where other relevant projects and references are mentioned.

Research plays a part here, of course. On the other hand, research that is interesting, but not connected to the goals of this project or supportive of any patterns do not belong.


The solution contains the solution to the problem, stated in the imperative, in summary form. The solution describes the physical and social relationships which are required to solve the stated problem, in the stated context. It contains static relationships and dynamic rules which describe how to reach the stated objectives of the pattern, often listing several variants and/or ways to adjust to circumstances. Solutions also refer to patterns.

The pattern should be useful. We're not just interested in interesting observations. There should be some fairly specific activities that people could undertake that would help them get closer to the "solution" advanced in the pattern. Note that these suggestions are generic also. They should be generally applicable; not just to a specific set of circumstances.

Introductory Graphic

An illustration, photograph or other graphic that illustrates prototypical application of the pattern. The introductory graphic, unlike the concluding graphic, should probably not be a diagram.

Concluding Graphic

A picture, diagrams or other graphic that summarizes, often diagrammically, a prototypical approach to attaining the pattern's objectives.


References: Should include a range of broadly useful and accessible sources . Please note that the current limit on citations will be ultimately removed.

Archived CPSR Information
Created before October 2004

Sign up for CPSR announcements emails


International Chapters -

> Canada
> Japan
> Peru
> Spain

USA Chapters -

> Chicago, IL
> Pittsburgh, PA
> San Francisco Bay Area
> Seattle, WA
Why did you join CPSR?

I am graduating this year and want to look beyond school to see what the world has to offer.