Problem-solving is considered one of the essential human cognitive processes since it is a higher-layer process. Problem-solving is closely related to other cognitive processes. These processes are pensiveness, searching, erudition, decision-making, inference, psychoanalysis, and synthesis. Problem-solving is related to other cognitive processes through the object-attribute model. Studies show that problem solving is a cognitive process that is directly linked to the brain, which is charged with the task of providing solutions to severe problems. It also finds a path through which a solution to a particular issue would be reached. Problem-solving starts by first identifying the real problem before relating it to the number of available solutions. In psychology, problem-solving is used to mean the mental process that results in the generation of a solution to an existing problem. It entails the desire to reach a specific goal. Scholars note that problem-solving is the most sophisticated intellectual role of the brain. The work of Gestaltists played a significant role in the development of problem-solving because he conducted a laboratory test to ascertain that the process is a decision that could only be reached after a careful thought process. Since the 1990s, the focus shifted to practical problem-solving mechanisms as opposed to theory and laboratory experiments.
Research shows that people encounter some problems when trying to arrive at certain conclusions, mainly because of the complexity of the issue to be deliberated. The issue could be lacking clarity, which makes it challenging to come up with an acceptable solution. Due to this fact, scholars have devised problem-solving strategies, which make it easy for people to arrive at certain conclusions. The strategies are the steps that an individual would pursue when in solving an issue at hand – some scholars term these strategies as the problem-solving cycle (Sternberg, & Frensch, 1991). The strategies include appreciating the fact that a problem exists, defining the problem in detail, developing the best method to approach the problem, organize facts related to the problem, evaluate the availability of resources, monitor the progress, and analyze the problem once more. Strategies such as generalization, comparison, brainstorming, and hypothesis testing are often employed in solving problems.
Problem-solving could be approached using several models, including eight disciples model, GROW model, and PDCA model. Eight disciples approach is usually employed by professionals in the engineering field to eliminate all possible problems that seem to be recurrent. The main strategies employed include identifying the problem, correcting it, and eliminating it finally. GROW model, on the other hand, is employed when an individual or the organization wants to set goals that would mitigate the occurrence of problems. PDCA is a four-step model that resolves problems comprehensively (Blanchard-Fields, 2007). The first strategy of the model is to plan for an event or a project, meaning that everything should be put into the program in case a solution is to be found. The model emphasizes the planning and evaluation of a problem before trying to look for a solution. The second strategy entails coming up with various solutions and deciding on the most viable solution. Before utilizing a particular method to resolve the problem, a careful analysis should be conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of the method or the solution. The final strategy pertains to acting whereby the solution is now utilized to resolve the issue.
Blanchard-Fields, F. (2007). Everyday problem solving and emotion: An adult developmental perspective. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16 (1), 26–31.
Sternberg, R. J., & Frensch, P. A. (1991). Complex problem solving: Principles and mechanisms. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.