Problem-Solving Strategies Help
Introduction to Problem-Solving Strategies
"The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it."
—Voltaire, French writer and philosopher (1694–1778)
You face problems every day, and sometimes they can be overwhelming. In this lesson, you'll learn how to pinpoint the main issue of a problem and how to break it down into its various parts, thus making the problem more manageable.
And we will show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that my client is not guilty of committing the heinous act he is accused of." If you've ever watched a legal drama or sat on a jury yourself, this statement should sound familiar. You probably know that sometimes jury members are faced with very serious dilemmas. In fact, many times, the fate of a defendant rests in their final decision, or verdict.
Luckily, not all situations or problems are as formidable as deciding the destiny of another human being. But everyone faces his or her share of problems, and it's important to handle them quickly and effectively. Critical thinking and reasoning skills can help you do just that.
What Is a Problem?
Let's begin by defining the word problem. In terms of critical thinking and reasoning skills, a problem is any situation or matter that is challenging to solve, thus requiring you to make a difficult decision. That decision can be about anything—how to answer a perplexing question, how to handle a complicated situation, how to convince someone to see your point of view, or even how to solve a puzzle or mystery. For example, you might face the following kinds of problems:
|Questions:||Should a U.S. presidential term be more than four years? Should you report your coworker for stealing?|
|Situations:||Your friends are pressuring you to go to a party tonight, but you promised your brother you'd help him on a project. What do you do?|
|Convincing:||How do you convince Joe that he shouldn't treat his girlfriend so poorly?|
|Solving:||Who stole the money from the safe? How can you make enough money to pay for college?|
Identifying the Problem
The first step to solving any problem is to identify the problem. This may sound obvious—of course you need to know what the problem is. But it's important to take this step, because in real life, with all its complications, it's easy to lose sight of the real problem at hand. When this happens, the problem becomes much more complicated than it needs to be because you end up focusing on secondary issues rather than what's really at stake.
Once you've identified the problem, you need to break it down into its parts. This is an essential step because it gives you a sense of the scope of the problem. How big is it? How many issues are there? Sometimes, at first glance, problems seem so big that a solution seems impossible. Other times, you may underestimate the size of a problem and end up making a poor decision because you overlook an important factor. By breaking a problem down into its parts, you may find it's not as big a problem as you thought—or that it's much more complicated than you initially anticipated. Either way, when you break a problem down, you make it manageable—big or small, you can take it on one issue at a time.
When you break the problem down into parts, you might turn them into a list. Putting them in writing can often give them more validity to you. It might also inspire you to come up with more details than you might have if you'd keep them in your head.
Today on Education.com
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing