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2008 Pearson Education, Inc.

,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Study and Critical Thinking Skills
in College
Chapter 7
Thinking Critically and
Solving Problems
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Do you know
How to make good decisions?
How you can specify a problem in a way that
will help you solve it?
How to analyze a problem?
Why you should identify a wide range of
solutions to a problem?
How to evaluate possible solutions?
What factors you should consider in selecting
a solution?
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Types of Decisions
Routine
Safe, habitual choices that eliminate need to
constantly make choices
Impulsive
Not well thought out and can lead to
problems
Reasoned
Alternatives identified and weighed
Outcomes predicted
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Making Reasoned Decisions
Not making a decision is a decision
Wait out a decision
Focus on life goals
Talk with others
Play out long-term consequences
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Question 1
Which of the following is an example of a
reasoned decision?
A. Deciding to cut class to go swimming with
friends
B. Deciding what to wear in the morning
C. Deciding to go to work when scheduled
D. Deciding on a time and method of studying
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
What is Problem Solving?
A critical thinking skill
Involves thinking in new ways and with
new approaches
Making reasoned decisions
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
A Model for Problem Solving
Present State: What is
Goal State: What is desired
Solution Paths: Ways to get from what
is to what is desired
Goal state Present state
Solution Paths
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Question 2
What is a solution path?
A. The correct way of solving a problem
B. One of several possible ways of solving a
problem
C. The way you choose to solve a problem
whether it is right or wrong
D. The solution the instructor is looking for
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Problem-Solving Processes
Step 1: Specify the Problem
Step 2: Analyze the Problem
Step 3: Devise Possible Solution Paths
Step 4: Evaluate Possible Solution Paths
Step 5: Choose a Solution
Step 6: Evaluate Your Solution
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Step 1: Specify the Problem
State the problem
In a way that allows you to solve it
Express the problem verbally or in writing
Focus on specifics

2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Step 2: Analyze the Problem
Seek other perspectives
Be flexible in your analysis
Consider various strands of impact
Brainstorm all possibilities and
implications
Research when you lack complete
information
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Step 3: Devise Possible Solution Paths
Try to think of all possible solutions
Be creative
Consider similar problems and how you
solved them

2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Step 4: Evaluate Solution Paths
Weigh advantages and disadvantages
Consider immediate and long-term
consequences
Try mapping out solution paths
Recognize when you need more
information
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Step 5: Choose a Solution
Compatible with life goals and priorities
Amount of risk
Practicality

2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Step 6: Evaluate Your Solution
Is your solution working?
If not, choose an alternative solution

2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Question 3
What is the first step in solving a
problem?
A. Coming up with a list of possible solutions
B. Analyzing the problem and deciding if you
have enough information to solve it
C. Researching a problem to find a solution
D. Define the problem focusing on specifics
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Question 4
After you choose a solution and
implement it, what should you do?
A. Nothing, youre done
B. Go on to the next problem
C. Evaluate your solution to see if it works
D. Go back and redefine the problem

2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Keys to Problem Solving
Think aloud
Talk the problem through
Hearing yourself will help you process
information
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Keys to Problem Solving
Allow time for incubation
Dont jump to a solution
Take time away from problem
Give time for solution paths to develop
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Keys to Problem Solving
Talk about the problem
Provides clarity and definition
Externalizes the problem
Provides distance

2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Question 5
After defining a problem, should you start
looking for solution paths immediately?
A. Yes, its important to come up with a solution while
the problem is fresh in your mind
B. Yes, you dont want to overthink the problem
C. No, you should work on something else and hope
the answer just comes to you
D. No, you should take some time away from the
problem to gain perspective
2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Thinking Critically and Solving Problems
Chapter Review
Thinking Critically about Decision Making
Problem-Solving Strategies
Step 1: Specify the Problem
Step 2: Analyze the Problem
Step 3: Devise Possible Solution Paths
Step 4: Evaluate Possible Solution Paths
Step 5: Choose a Solution
Step 6: Evaluate Your Solution
Keys to Problem Solving

2008 Pearson Education, Inc.,
publishing as Pearson Longman
Questions?