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February 16, 2012 / mike54martin

More Ways to….. Solve a Problem

Part 2 of 50 ways to solve a problem.  Part 3 next week.

Strategies involving use of external aids to help you identify possible solutions

21. Ask someone, especially an expert.

If you have someone with particular expertise then ask for their advice and suggestions.

22. Seek the answer in written material.

There are no manuals for life but there are many how-to guides in the library or on the Internet.

23. Use a tool or technology.

Can a specific tool or technology help you diagnose or solve your problem? Maybe headphones could work.

24. Apply a theory.

If you find a theory that looks like it might work in your situation, why not put it into practice and see if it works. It worked for other people.

25. Apply the scientific method.

Collect data, test the data, and most importantly, be sceptical.

26. Use mathematics.

Using math and mathematical calculations may allow you to track how often a problem is occurring and whether it is getting better or worse.

27. Use a formula.

If you can find a formula that might work to help you resolve your problem, particularly if it has helped others, then try it out.

Strategies involving the use of logic to help you identify possible solutions

28. Reason by analogy, using what you have learned about similar problems.

If you’ve dealt with a difficult neighbour then the same analogy may work with your difficult person at work.

29. Use deductive reasoning.

Take a general rule and apply it to a specific situation.

30. Use inductive reasoning.

This involves taking specifics and developing a general rule to follow.

31. Question assumptions.

You will never find a solution if your assumptions are faulty. If your solution is working then check your assumptions. They may be wrong.

Strategies using a possible solution as the starting point to help you solve a problem

32. Guess, check, and adjust.

If you don’t know what to do, take your best guess. If that doesn’t work, make a better guess until you get it right.

33. Work backwards.

Start at the problem and its impact and work backwards to find the causes and solution.

 Once again thank you to John Malouff from the University of New England, in Armidale, Australia for the inspiration and research.

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