Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving

The University of Tennessee Student Academic Support Services

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Creative Problem Solving Critical Thinking- Attitude ThinkingModels and methods on problem solving Challenges and exercises on problem solving

Intelligence = Good Thinking Skills Thinking is the operating skill with which intelligence acts upon experience for a purpose. Operating skill + intelligence + experience

PMI    P M I plus or good points minus or bad points interesting points Two or three minutes to deliberately think through a problem or situation. .

Creative Problem Solving        Recognize the problem Define the problem Gather ideas or data Rank ideas Test the ideas Draw conclusions Evaluate conclusions .

Attitudes Plus Action Equals Success The Attitudes Greet problems as challenges and not as threats Tolerate uncertainty Engage in self-evaluation and criticism selfEngage in divergent thinking Persevere Systematically and deliberately approach task Are Flexable .

Attitudes Plus Action Equals Success The Actions Brainstorm and search all possibilities Attend to details Set plans of action Question continuously Check for accuracy Break problems into pars Avoid Guessing .

Does not drift from idea to idea or emotion to emotion Defines the thinking task and then sets out to carry it out  In control of his/her thinking   Has a clear idea of what he/she wants to do  .DeBono s Characterization of a Good Thinker  Confident in his/her thinking  Not that he/she is right or even that he/she can find the answer but that he/she can turn on his/her thinking at will and deliberately focus it in any direction he/she wants.

DeBono s Characterization of a Good Thinker     Has a clear focus and a broad view of the situation Values wisdom over cleverness Likes thinking even when it isn t particularly successful Confident and decisive but humble .

overnitnit-picking or a dither of indecision Able to discern his/her progress after thinking Practices and observes thinking .DeBono s Characterization of a Good Thinker     Robust in thought but practical were this is demanded Doesn t wallow in over-intellectualization.

memorizing definitions for a history exam)  Comprehension: Comprehension: Understanding ideas. using rules and following directions  (ex: explaining a mathematical law. repeating information with no changes  (ex: recalling dates. explaining a definition in psychology) (ex: using knowledge to solve a new physics problem)  Application: Application: Applying knowledge to a new situation  . knowing how the human ear functions.Levels of Thinking  Knowledge: Knowledge: recalling information.

breaking information into parts. analyzing how things work  (ex: comparing two poems by the same author)  Synthesis: Synthesis: Putting ideas and information together in a unique way. creating something new  (ex: designing a new computer program)  Evaluation: Evaluation: Making judgments. assessing value or worth of information  (ex: evaluating the effectiveness of an argument opposing the death penalty) .Levels of Thinking  Analysis: Analysis: Seeing relationships.

definitions. and laws to integrated within the passage. equations. 3. Use only relevent facts. 2.Selecting a problem solving method     1. and always start from the given data. . 4. You should apply the newly-learned concepts newlyfrom the passage as and when appropriate after a thorough understanding. When working with mathematics problems watch for consistency in units and conventions. theories. Only use principles. You should apply already-learned concepts to alreadyfill in the gaps from information provided in the passage.

methods. Evaluate designs. You should also use integrated reasoning in looking at pieces of evidence. parts of instruments. These problems may not require any mathematical operations to solve. You should evaluate and interpret particular perspectives including technical views and opinions of scientists. and their effects in a logical and systematic way.Selecting a problem solving method    5. Use proportional reasoning as and when required to compare various options. . 7. steps in procedures and various actions in phenomena. only analytical/logical reasoning will suffice. 6. phenomena. Do not get persuaded by the writer s arguments if you discover technical flaws or problems.

Always try to get the answer in the form presented. Pick up various strategies and approaches to solve the problem in any order as long as they are well connected and sequential in solving the problem. especially in data analysis problems.Selecting a problem solving method    8. . 10. Organize and interpret your data so it is directly linked to the format of the answers presented. You should learn how to test the responses against your answer and make sure to follow basic logic. 9.

Actually create a rough sketch of the information. Try to condense the information in the question as much as possible. . Examine whether or not your answer makes sense. Mark inner problem cues which link new information with known concepts. What is the question? Isolate and examine the limitations and assumptions in the question stem.Problem Solving Model       Use your own experience or similar situation to help you mentally see the given information. Select the best problem solving method for the question. Actually create a tough sketch of the information.

and Spanish is easier than French.Problem Solving Methods  Make a Diagram Cathy knows French and German. If French is easier than German. which girl knows the most difficult language? . German easier than Swedish. Russian harder than Swedish. Cindy knows Spanish and French. Sandra knows Swedish and Russian. Paula knows German and Swedish.

among which are 3 poodles. both German Shepherds. and Mary own a total of 16 dogs. Mary owns 3 collies and several other dogs. What other dogs and how many of each does Mary own? . giving a her a total of 6 dogs. Joanne despises poodles and collies. twice as many cocker spaniels. but owns 4 cocker spaniels and 2 German Shepherds. Paula owns 1 poodle and only 2 other dogs. and the remainder German Shepherds and collies. Joanne.Problem Solving Methods  Make a Chart Paula.

Anthony Street. Which direction is now on your left?  Draw a Picture Belvedere Street is parallel to St. and then aboutyou turn left. Davidson is perpendicular to River Street.Problem Solving Methods  Go Through the Actions You are facing east. River Street is parallel to St. Is Davidson Street parallel or perpendicular to Belvedere? . Anthony Street. you make an about-face.

Friday. visited the museum and had a cavity filled. Tommy s is closed on Wednesday. the museum is only open Monday. and my dentist has office hours Tuesday. Wednesday. On which day of the week did I do all these things? . the library is closed on weekends. took out two books from the library (The Sea Wolf and Martin (The Eden. I ate lunch at Tommy s. and Saturday. and Friday. Eden.Problem Solving Methods  Write It Out On a certain day. both by Jack London).

How many people must be contacted. and all parents in a town.Problem Solving Methods  Use a Venn Diagram The government wants to contact all druggists. using these statistics? Druggists 10 Gun Store owners 5 Parents 3000 Druggists who own gun stores 0 Druggists who are parents 7 Gun store owners who are parents 3 . all gun store owners.

Checklist For Problem Solving .

Reading material without concentrating strongly on the meaning. Not spending enough time rereading a difficult section to clarify it meaning. at the expense of comprehension. 3. not careful enough.Inaccuracy in Reading 1. 2. 5. not careful enough. Misreading one or more words. Missing one or more facts or ideas. 4. Didn t constantly ask. . Do I understand that completely? Reading material too rapidly.

Inaccuracy in Thinking 1. 7. 6. Visualizing a description or relationship inaccurately. 8. Not checking the appropriateness of a formula or procedure before utilizing it. Working too rapidly. Interpreting words or performing operations inconsistently. 5. . 3. 4. Drawing a conclusion from the middle of a problem rather than reading it through and giving it sufficient thought. Not checking the correctness of an answer or conclusion. Performing operations with out sufficient care or observation. Not placing a constant high premium on accuracy. 2.

3. Not breaking a complex problem into parts. . 2. Skipping unfamiliar words or phrases. Not drawing upon prior knowledge and experience in trying to make sense of ideas which were unclear. rather than trying to gain good understanding through context.Weakness in Problem Analysis: Inactiveness 1. Not translating an unclear word or phrase into one s own words. 4.

Not evaluating a solution or interpretation in terms of its reasonableness. 6. Not using a dictionary when necessary. . 7. Not actively constructing (mentally or on paper) a representation of ideas described in the text.Weakness in Problem Analysis: Inactiveness (cont d) 5.

Lack of Perseverance 1. then giving up and jumping to a conclusion. Making little attempt to solve the problem through reasoning because of lack of confidence in one s ability to deal with this type of problem. 2. Reasoning the problem part way through. Solving the problem in a mechanical manner. Choosing to answer based on only a superficial consideration of the problem. without much thought. 3. . 4.

Failure to Think Aloud 1. . Not vocalizing one s thinking in sufficient detail while working the problem.

Both containers are unmarked. You need exactly 4 liters of water. if a water faucet is handy? . How can you get it.Question  You have only an 8-liter jug and a 3-liter 83jug.

The wealthy father told them. I will blindfold all of you then choose three of the five hats to put on your heads. But the third man. The first man to tell me the color of his own hat without looking at it will marry the heiress. I will take off your blindfolds. I have three red hats and two white hats. The man said he couldn t tell the color of his hat. and how did he know? . either. After the hats are on your heads. The father did as he had said. What color was it. who was blind. The second man said he couldn t tell. correctly told the color of his hat.Question Three handsome geniuses all wanted to marry the beautiful heiress.

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