Problem Solving [Part-I]


Problem-solving is cognitive process that comprises of discovering, analysing and solving problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue. The unique situation creates the best strategy for solving problems, and also creativity and insight are the best options.

Before moving on to the discussion, firstly know that-“What is Problems?” Problem is a state of difficulty that needs to be resolved. We often see people always get stuck and struggle at a point and this will strategised them to react to resolve the problems. Lasswell stresses: “Knowledge of the decision process implies systematic and empirical studies of how strategies are made and put into effect”. Hence, Problem-solving does more analysis of hypothesis, predictions, Causation, and optimising, there develops a body of potential premises that can be used in deducing conclusions, just as Chemistry was able to deduce the existence of new elements before they were empirically discovered. But all these attributes can only possible to adhere, if a person poses some universal steps that discussed below.

 

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Steps in Problem-Solving

In order to correctly solve a problem, it is important to follow a series of steps. Many researchers refer to this as the problem-solving cycle, which includes developing strategies and organizing knowledge. While this cycle is portrayed sequentially, people rarely follow a rigid series of steps to find a solution. Instead, we often skip steps or even go back through steps multiple times until the desired solution is reached.

  • Identifying the Problem: While it may seem like an obvious step, identifying the problem is not always as simple as it sounds. In some cases, people might mistakenly identify the wrong source of a problem, which will make attempts to solve it inefficient or even useless.
  • Defining the Problem: After the problem has been identified, it is important to fully define the problem so that it can be solved.
  • Forming a Strategy: The next step is to develop a strategy to solve the problem. The approach used will vary depending upon the situation and the individual’s unique preferences.
  • Organizing Information: Before coming up with a solution, we need to first organize the available information. What do we know about the problem? What do we not know? The more information that is available, the better prepared we will be to come up with an accurate solution.
  • Allocating Resources: Of course, we don’t always have unlimited money, time, and other resources to solve a problem. Before you begin to solve a problem, you need to determine how high priority it is. If it is an important problem, it is probably worth allocating more resources to solving it. If, however, it is a fairly unimportant problem, then you do not want to spend too much of your available resources into coming up with a solution.
  • Monitoring Progress: Effective problem-solvers tend to monitor their progress as they work towards a solution. If they are not making good progress toward reaching their goal, they will re-evaluate their approach or look for new strategies.
  • Evaluating the Results: After a solution has been reached, it is important to evaluate the results to determine if it is the best possible solution to the problem. This evaluation might be immediate, such as checking the results of a math problem to ensure the answer is correct, or it can be delayed, such as evaluating the success of a therapy program after several months of treatment.

Basic assumptions of problem-solving

Unity of Knowledge:It is the prominent theme of problem-solving. The maturation of problem-solving would effect the state of knowledge in three ways:

  • It would lead to bridging the gap between basic and applied research through a ‘synergic relationship’.
  • With the emergence of problem-solving attributes , a ‘specialist in general approach and method’, the dichotomy between specialist and generalist would be irrelevant;
  • Interdisciplinary in problem-solving would finally give way to supra-disciplinarily, in consequence of:

a) “continuous exchange between social, natural, and mental ability of working on common problem-solving, and

b) deliberate development of professionals trained in the problem-solving orientation.”

Emphasis on improved methods: It occupy the central position in the analytical approach to problem-solving

Rationality: It is concern with better achievement of goals through the use of structural rationality. The rationalist model involves a ‘commitment to scientific planning’.

Ideology: It is felt that problem-solving is laden with utilitarian assumptions. It involves primarily the development of professional analysts who are expert in rational decision-making. It is an interdisciplinary approach which is intended to afford these analyst objective criteria upon which problem-solving decisions can be made.

Terminology of Problem Solving

The basic terminology of Problem Solving helps us to critical analysis in strategic solution. There are seven terms such as Purpose, Situation, Problem, Cause, Solvable Cause, Issue, and Solution.

  • Purpose: It is what we want to do or what we want to be. Purpose is an easy term to understand. But problem solvers frequently forget to confirm Purpose, at the first step of Problem Solving. Without clear purposes, we cannot think about problems.
  • Situation: It is just what a circumstance is. Situation is neither good nor bad. We should recognize situations objectively as much as we can. Usually almost all situations are not problems. But some problem solvers think of all situations as problems. Before we recognize a problem, we should capture situations clearly without recognizing them as problems or non-problems. Without recognizing situations objectively, Problem Solving is likely to be narrow sighted, because problem solvers recognize problems with their prejudice.
  • Problem: It is some portions of a situation, which cannot realize purposes. Since problem solvers often neglect the differences of purposes, they cannot capture the true problems. If the purpose is different, the identical situation may be a problem or may not be a problem.
  • Cause: It is what brings about a problem. Some problem solvers do not distinguish causes from problems. But since problems are some portions of a situation, problems are more general than causes are. In other words causes are more specific facts, which bring about problems. Without distinguishing causes from problems, Problem Solving cannot be specific. Finding specific facts which causes problems is the essential step in Problem Solving.
  • Solvable Cause: Solvable cause is some portions of causes. When we solve a problem, we should focus on solvable causes. Finding solvable causes is another essential step in Problem Solving. But problem solvers frequently do not extract solvable causes among causes. If we try to solve unsolvable causes, we waste time. Extracting solvable causes is a useful step to make Problem Solving efficient.
  • Issue: Issue is the opposite expression of a problem. If a problem is that we do not have money, the issue is that we get money. Some problem solvers do not know what Issue is. They may think of “we do not have money” as an issue. At the worst case, they may mix the problems, which should be negative expressions, and the issues, which should be positive expressions.
  • Solution: Solution is a specific action to solve a problem, which is equal to a specific action to realize an issue. Some problem solvers do not break down issues into more specific actions. Issues are not solutions. Problem solvers must break down issues into specific action.

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