Scientific Method Of Problem Solving

For most of us, problem solving is one of those everyday activities that we do without much thought.But it turns out that many common approaches like brainstorming don’t have much research behind them.

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The scientific method beings with a question (perhaps stemming from an existing problem).

For example, a community member may notice the entire neighborhood has overflowing recycling bins on recycling pick-up day.

Dhaliwal also makes a few early generalizations, and he thought that Andreas might have a lung infection or an autoimmune problem.

There wasn’t enough data to offer any sort of reliable conclusion, though, and really Dhaliwal was just gathering information.

While a focused method is helpful, thorny issues don’t always fit nicely into categories. After all, symptoms rarely match up perfectly with an illness.

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Dizziness can be the signal of something serious—or a symptom of a lack of sleep.

In contrast, practices that might seem a little odd—like talking to yourself—can be pretty effective.

I came across the new research on problem solving as part of my reporting on a book on the science of learning, and it was mathematician George Polya who first established the field, detailing a four-step approach to cracking enduring riddles.

For example, the community member may say, "This community would be better served by a twice-weekly recycling schedule to accommodate the amount of recycled material." 4) Test hypothesis: The community member may then lobby the neighborhood to include an extra day of recycling; this process is an experiment.

5) Analyze results: The community member will then re-investigate the issue to determine if his or her hypothesis is supported in the experiment (adding another recycling day).

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