Problems and Problem Solving in Chemistry Education: Analysing Data, Looking for Patterns and Making Deductions

  • ‹ Prev
  • Next ›

1.1 Problems and Problem Solving

1.2 types and kinds of problems, 1.3 novice versus expert problem solvers/problem solving heuristics, 1.4 chemistry problems, 1.4.1 problems in stoichiometry, 1.4.2 problems in organic chemistry, 1.5 the present volume, 1.5.1 general issues in problem solving in chemistry education, 1.5.2 problem solving in organic chemistry and biochemistry, 1.5.3 chemistry problem solving under specific contexts, 1.5.4 new technologies in problem solving in chemistry, 1.5.5 new perspectives for problem solving in chemistry education, chapter 1: introduction − the many types and kinds of chemistry problems.

  • Published: 17 May 2021
  • Special Collection: 2021 ebook collection Series: Advances in Chemistry Education Research
  • Open the Chapter PDF for in another window
  • Get permissions
  • Cite Icon Cite

G. Tsaparlis, in Problems and Problem Solving in Chemistry Education: Analysing Data, Looking for Patterns and Making Deductions, ed. G. Tsaparlis, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021, ch. 1, pp. 1-14.

Download citation file:

  • Ris (Zotero)
  • Reference Manager

Problem solving is a ubiquitous skill in the practice of chemistry, contributing to synthesis, spectroscopy, theory, analysis, and the characterization of compounds, and remains a major goal in chemistry education. A fundamental distinction should be drawn, on the one hand, between real problems and algorithmic exercises, and the differences in approach to problem solving exhibited between experts and novices on the other. This chapter outlines the many types and kinds of chemistry problems, placing particular emphasis on studies in quantitative stoichiometry problems and on qualitative organic chemistry problems (reaction mechanisms, synthesis, and spectroscopic identification of structure). The chapter concludes with a brief look at the contents of this book, which we hope will act as an appetizer for more systematic study.

According to the ancient Greeks, “The beginning of education is the study of names”, meaning the “examination of terminology”. 1 The word “problem” (in Greek: «πρόβλημα » /“ problēma” ) derives from the Greek verb “ proballein ” (“pro + ballein”), meaning “to throw forward” ( cf. ballistic and ballistics ), and also “to suggest”, “to argue” etc. Hence, the initial meaning of a “ problēma ” was “something that stands out”, from which various other meanings followed, for instance that of “a question” or of “a state of embarrassment”, which are very close to the current meaning of a problem . Among the works of Aristotle is that of “ Problēmata ”, which is a collection of “why” questions/problems and answers on “medical”, “mathematical”, “astronomical”, and other issues, e.g. , “Why do the changes of seasons and the winds intensify or pause and decide and cause the diseases?” 1  

Problem solving is a complex set of activities, processes, and behaviors for which various models have been used at various times. Specifically, “problem solving is a process by which the learner discovers a combination of previously learned rules that they can apply to achieve a solution to a new situation (that is, the problem)”. 2   Zoller identifies problem solving, along with critical thinking and decision making, as high-order cognitive skills, assuming these capabilities to be the most important learning outcomes of good teaching. 3   Accordingly, problem solving is an integral component in students’ education in science and Eylon and Linn have considered problem solving as one of the major research perspectives in science education. 4  

Bodner made a fundamental distinction between problems and exercises, which should be emphasized from the outset (see also the Foreword to this book). 5–7   For example, many problems in science can be simply solved by the application of well-defined procedures ( algorithms ), thus turning the problems into routine/algorithmic exercises. On the other hand, a real/novel/authentic problem is likely to require, for its solution, the contribution of a number of mental resources. 8  

According to Sternberg, intelligence can best be understood through the study of nonentrenched ( i.e. , novel) tasks that require students to use concepts or form strategies that differ from those they are accustomed to. 9   Further, it was suggested that the limited success of the cognitive-correlates and cognitive-components approaches to measuring intelligence are due in part to the use of tasks that are more entrenched (familiar) than would be optimal for the study of intelligence.

The division of cognitive or thinking skills into Higher-Order (HOCS/HOTS) and Lower-Order (LOCS/LOTS) 3,10   is very relevant. Students are found to perform considerably better on questions requiring LOTS than on those requiring HOTS. Interestingly, performance on questions requiring HOTS often does not correlate with that on questions requiring LOTS. 10   In a school context, a task can be an exercise or a real problem depending on the subject's expertise and on what had been taught. A task may then be an exercise for one student, but a problem for another student. 11   I return to the issue of HOT/LOTS in Chapters 17 and 18.

Johnstone has provided a systematic classification of problem types, which is reproduced in Table 1.1 . 8   Types 1 and 2 are the “normal” problems usually encountered in academic situations. Type 1 is of the algorithmic exercise nature. Type 2 can become algorithmic with experience or teaching. Types 3 and 4 are more complex, with type 4 requiring very different reasoning from that used in types 1 and 2. Types 5–8 have open outcomes and/or goals, and can be very demanding. Type 8 is the nearest to real-life, everyday problems.

Classification of problems. Reproduced from ref. 8 with permission from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

TypeDataMethodsOutcomes/GoalsSkills bonus
1. Given Familiar Given Recall of algorithms. 
2. Given Unfamiliar Given Looking for parallels to known methods. 
3. Incomplete Familiar Given Analysis of problem to decide what further data are required. 
4. Incomplete Unfamiliar Given Weighing up possible methods and then deciding on data required. 
5. Given Familiar Open Decision making about appropriate goals. Exploration of knowledge networks. 
6. Given Unfamiliar Open Decisions about goals and choices of appropriate methods. 
7. Incomplete Familiar Open Once goals have been specified by the student, these data are seen to be incomplete. 
8. Incomplete Unfamiliar Open Suggestion of goals and methods to get there; consequent need for additional data. All of the above skills. 
TypeDataMethodsOutcomes/GoalsSkills bonus
1. Given Familiar Given Recall of algorithms. 
2. Given Unfamiliar Given Looking for parallels to known methods. 
3. Incomplete Familiar Given Analysis of problem to decide what further data are required. 
4. Incomplete Unfamiliar Given Weighing up possible methods and then deciding on data required. 
5. Given Familiar Open Decision making about appropriate goals. Exploration of knowledge networks. 
6. Given Unfamiliar Open Decisions about goals and choices of appropriate methods. 
7. Incomplete Familiar Open Once goals have been specified by the student, these data are seen to be incomplete. 
8. Incomplete Unfamiliar Open Suggestion of goals and methods to get there; consequent need for additional data. All of the above skills. 

Problem solving in chemistry, as in any other domain, is a huge field, so one cannot really be an expert in all aspects of it. Complementary to Johnstone's classification scheme, one can also identify the following forms: quantitative problems that involve mathematical formulas and computations, and qualitative ones; problems with missing or extraordinary data, with a unique solution/answer, or open problems with more than one solution; problems that cannot be solved exactly but need mathematical approximations; problems that need a laboratory experiment or a computer or a data bank; theoretical/thought problems or real-life ones; problems that can be answered through a literature search, or need the collaboration of specific experts, etc.

According to Bodner and Herron, “Problem solving is what chemists do, regardless of whether they work in the area of synthesis, spectroscopy, theory, analysis, or the characterization of compounds”. 12   Hancock et al. comment that: “The objective of much of chemistry teaching is to equip learners with knowledge they then apply to solve problems”, 13   and Cooper and Stowe ascertain that “historically, problem solving has been a major goal of chemistry education”. 14   The latter authors argue further that problem solving is not a monolithic activity, so the following activities “could all be (and have been) described as problem solving:

solving numerical problems using a provided equation

proposing organic syntheses of target compounds

constructing mechanisms of reactions

identifying patterns in data and making deductions from them

modeling chemical phenomena by computation

identifying an unknown compound from its spectroscopic properties

However, these activities require different patterns of thought, background knowledge, skills, and different types of evidence of student mastery” 14   (p. 6063).

Central among problem solving models have been those dealing with the differences in problem solving between experts and novices. Experts ( e.g., school and university teachers) are as a rule fluent in solving problems in their own field, but often fail to communicate to their students the required principles, strategies, and techniques for problem solving. It is then no surprise that the differences between experts and novices have been a central theme in problem solving education research. Mathematics came first, in 1945, with the publication of George Polya's classic book “ How to solve it: A new aspect of mathematical method ”: 15  

“The teacher should put himself in the student's place, he should see the student's case, he should try to understand what is going on in the student's mind, and ask a question or indicate a step that could have occurred to the student himself ”.

Polya provided advice on teaching problem solving and proposed a four-stage model that included a detailed list of problem solving heuristics. The four stages are: understand the problem, devise a plan, carry out the plan, and look back . In 1979, Bourne, Dominowski, and Loftus modeled a three-stage process, consisting of preparation, production , and evaluation . 16   Then came the physicists. According to Larkin and Reif, novices look for an algorithm, while experts tend to think conceptually and use general strategies . Other basic differences are: (a) the comprehensive and more complete scheme employed by experts, in contrast to the sketchy one used by novices; and (b) the extra qualitative analysis step usually applied by experts, before embarking on detailed and quantitative means of solution. 17,18   Reif (1981, 1983) suggested further that in order for one to be able to solve problems one must have available: (a) a strategy for problem solving; (b) the right knowledge base, and (c) a good organization of the knowledge base. 18,19  

Chemistry problem solving followed suit providing its own heuristics. Pilot and co-workers proposed useful procedures that include the steps that characterize expert solvers. 20–22   They developed an ordered system of heuristics, which is applicable to quantitative problem solving in many fields of science and technology. In particular, they devised a “ Program of Actions and Methods ”, which consists of four phases, as follows: Phase 1, analysis of the problem; Phase 2, transformation of the problem; Phase 3, execution of routine operations; Phase 4, checking the answer and interpretation of the results. Genya proposed the use of “sequences” of problems of gradually increasing complexity , with qualitative problems being used at the beginning. 23  

Randles and Overton compared novice students with expert chemists in the approaches they used when solving open-ended problems. 24     Open-ended problems are defined as problems where not all the required data are given, where there is no one single possible strategy and where there is no single correct answer to the problem. It was found that: undergraduates adopted a greater number of novice-like approaches and produced poorer quality solutions; academics exhibited expert-like approaches and produced higher quality solutions; the approaches taken by industrial chemists were described as transitional.

Finally, one can justify the differences between novices and experts by employing the concept of working memory (see Chapter 5). Experienced learners can group ideas together to see much information as one ‘ chunk ’, while novice learners see all the separate pieces of information, causing an overload of working memory, which then cannot handle all the separate pieces at once. 25,26  

Chemistry is unique in the diversity of its problems, some of which, such as problems in physical and analytical chemistry, are similar to problems in physics, while others, such problems in stoichiometry, in organic chemistry (especially in reaction mechanisms and synthesis), and in the spectroscopic identification of compounds and of molecular structure, are idiosyncratic to chemistry. We will have more to say about stoichiometry and organic chemistry below, but before that there is a need to refer to three figures whom we consider the originators of the field of chemistry education research: the Americans J. Dudley Herron and Dorothy L. Gabel and the Scot Alex H. Johnstone, for it is not a coincidence that all three dealt with chemistry problem solving.

For Herron, successful problem solvers have a good command of basic facts and principles; construct appropriate representations; have general reasoning strategies that permit logical connections among elements of the problem; and apply a number of verification strategies to ensure that the representation of the problem is consistent with the facts given, the solution is logically sound, the computations are error-free, and the problem solved is the problem presented. 27–29   Gabel has also carried out fundamental work on problem solving in chemistry. 30   For instance, she determined students’ skills and concepts that are prerequisites for solving problems on moles, through the use of analog tasks, and identified specific conceptual and mathematical difficulties. 31   She also studied how problem categorization enhances problem solving achievement. 32   Finally, Johnstone studied the connection of problem solving ability in chemistry (but also in physics and biology) with working memory and information processing. We will deal extensively with his relevant work in this book (see Chapter 5). In the rest of this section, reference will be made to some further foundational research work on problem solving in chemistry.

Working with German 16-year-old students in 1988, Sumfleth found that the knowledge of chemical terms is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for successful problem solving in structure-properties relationships and in stoichiometry. 33   In the U.S. it was realized quite early (in 1984) that students often use algorithmic methods without understanding the relevant underlying concepts. 32   Indeed, Nakhleh and Mitchell confirmed later (1993) that little connection existed between algorithmic problem solving skills and conceptual understanding. 34   These authors provided ways to evaluate students along a continuum of low-high algorithmic and conceptual problem solving skills, and admitted that the lecture method teaches students to solve algorithms rather than teaching chemistry concepts. Gabel and Bunce also emphasized that students who have not sufficiently grasped the chemistry behind a problem tend to use a memorized formula, manipulate the formula and plug in numbers until they fit. 30   Niaz compared student performance on conceptual and computational problems of chemical equilibrium and reported that students who perform better on problems requiring conceptual understanding also perform significantly better on problems requiring manipulation of data, that is, computational problems; he further suggested that solving computational problems before conceptual problems would be more conducive to learning, so it is plausible to suggest that students’ ability to solve computational/algorithmic problems is an essential prerequisite for a “progressive transition” leading to a resolution of novel problems that require conceptual understanding. 35–37  

Stoichiometry problems are unique to chemistry and at the same time constitute a stumbling block for many students in introductory chemistry courses, with students often relying on algorithms. A review of some fundamental studies follows.

Hans-Jürgen Schmid carried out large scale studies in 1994 and 1997 in Germany and found that when working on easy-to-calculate problems students tended to invent/create a “non-mathematical” strategy of their own, but changed their strategy when moving from an easy-to-calculate problem to a more difficult one. 38,39   Swedish students were also found to behave in a similar manner. 40   A recent (2016) study with junior pre-service chemistry teachers in the Philippines reported that the most prominent strategy was the (algorithmic) mole method, while very few used the proportionality method and none the logical method. 41  

Lorenzo developed, implemented, and evaluated a useful problem solving heuristic in the case of quantitative problems on stoichiometry and solutions. 42   The heuristic works as a metacognitive tool by helping students to understand the steps involved in problem solving, and further to tackle problems in a systematic way. The approach guides students by means of logical reasoning to make a qualitative representation of the solution to a problem before undertaking calculations, thus using a ‘backwards strategy’.

The problem format can serve to make a problem easier or more difficult. A large scale study with 16-year-old students in the UK examined three stoichiometry problems in a number of ways. 43   In Test A the questions were presented as they had previously appeared on National School Examinations, while in Test B each of the questions on Test A was presented in a structured sequence of four parts. An example of one of the questions from both Test A and Test B is given below.

  • Test A. Silver chloride (AgCl) is formed in the following reaction: AgNO 3 + HCl → AgCl + HNO 3 Calculate the maximum yield of solid silver chloride that can be obtained from reacting 25 cm 3 of 2.0 M hydrochloric acid with excess silver nitrate. (AgCl = 143.5)

Test B. Silver chloride (AgCl) is formed in the following reaction:

(a) How many moles of silver chloride can be made from 1 mole of hydrochloric acid?

(b) How many moles are there in 25 cm 3 of 2.0 M hydrochloric acid?

(c) How many moles of silver chloride can be made from the number of moles of acid in (b)?

(d) What is the mass of the number of moles of silver chloride in (c)? (AgCl = 143.5)

Student scores on Test B were significantly higher than those on Test A, both overall and on each of the individual questions, showing that structuring serves to make the questions easier.

Drummond and Selvaratnam examined students’ competence in intellectual strategies needed for solving chemistry problems. 44   They gave students problems in two forms, the ‘standard’ one and one with ‘hint’ questions that suggested the strategies which should be used to solve the problems. Although performance in all test items was poor, it improved for the ‘hint’ questions.

Finally, Gulacar and colleagues studied the differences in general cognitive abilities and domain specific skills of higher- and lower-achieving students in stoichiometry problems and in addition they proposed a novel code system for revealing sources of students’ difficulties with stoichiometry. 45,46   The latter topic is tackled in Chapter 4 by Gulacar, Cox, and Fynewever.

Stoichiometry problems have also a place in organic chemistry, but non-mathematical problem solving in organic chemistry is quite a different story. 47   Studying the mechanisms of organic reactions is a challenging activity. The spectroscopic identification of the structure of organic molecules also requires high expertise and a lot of experience. On the other hand, an organic synthesis problem can be complex and difficult for the students, because the number of pathways by which students could synthesise target substance “X” from starting substance “A” may be numerous. The problem is then very demanding in terms of information processing. In addition, students find it difficult to accept that one starting compound treated with only one set of reagents could lead to more than one correct product. A number of studies have dealt with organic synthesis. 48–50   The following comments from two students echo the difficulties faced by many students (pp. 209–210): 50  

“… having to do a synthesis problem is one of the more difficult things. Having to put everything together and sort of use your creativity, and knowing that I know everything solid to come up with a synthesis problem is difficult… it's just you can remember… you can use H 2 and nickel to add hydrogen to a bond but then there's like four other ways so if you're just looking for like what you react with, you can remember just that one but if you need five options just in case it's one of the other options that's given on the test… So, you have to know like multiple ways… and some things are used to maybe reduce… for example, something is used to reduce like a carboxylic acid and something else, the same thing, is used to reduce an aldehyde but then something else is used to like oxidize”.

Qualitative organic chemistry problems are dealt with in Chapters 6 and 7.

The present volume is the result of contributions from many experts in the field of chemistry education, with a clear focus on what can be identified as problem solving research. We are particularly fortunate that George Bodner , an authority in chemistry problem solving, has written the foreword to this book. (George has also published a review of research on problem solving in chemistry. 8   )

The book consists of eighteen chapters that cover many aspects of problem solving in chemistry and are organized under the following themes: (I) General issues in problem solving in chemistry education; (II) Problem solving in organic chemistry and biochemistry; (III) Chemistry problem solving in specific contexts; (IV) New technologies in problem solving in chemistry, and (V) New perspectives for problem solving in chemistry education. In the rest of this introductory chapter, I present a brief preview of the following contents.

The book starts with a discussion of qualitative reasoning in problem solving in chemistry. This type of reasoning helps us build inferences based on the analysis of qualitative values ( e.g. , high, low, weak, and strong) of the properties and behaviors of the components of a system, and the application of structure–property relationships. In Chapter 2, Talanquer summarizes core findings from research in chemistry education on the challenges that students face when engaging in this type of reasoning, and the strategies that support their learning in this area.

For Graulich, Langner, Vo , and Yuriev (Chapter 3), chemical problem solving relies on conceptual knowledge and the deployment of metacognitive problem solving processes, but novice problem solvers often grapple with both challenges simultaneously. Multiple scaffolding approaches have been developed to support student problem solving, often designed to address specific aspects or content area. The authors present a continuum of scaffolding so that a blending of prompts can be used to achieve specific goals. Providing students with opportunities to reflect on the problem solving work of others – peers or experts – can also be of benefit in deepening students’ conceptual reasoning skills.

A central theme in Gulacar, Cox and Fynewever 's chapter (Chapter 4) is the multitude of ways in which students can be unsuccessful when trying to solve problems. Each step of a multi-step problem can be labeled as a subproblem and represents content that students need to understand and use to be successful with the problem. The authors have developed a set of codes to categorize each student's attempted solution for every subproblem as either successful or not, and if unsuccessful, identifying why, thus providing a better understanding of common barriers to success, illustrated in the context of stoichiometry.

In Chapter 5, Tsaparlis re-examines the “working memory overload hypothesis” and associated with it the Johnstone–El Banna predictive model of problem solving. This famous predictive model is based on the effect of information processing, especially of working-memory capacity on problem solving. Other factors include mental capacity or M -capacity, degree of field dependence/independence, and developmental level/scientific reasoning. The Johnstone–El Banna model is re-examined and situations are explored where the model is valid, but also its limitations. A further examination of the role of the above cognitive factors in problem solving in chemistry is also made.

Proposing reaction mechanisms using the electron-pushing formalism, which is central to the practice and teaching of organic chemistry, is the subject of Chapter 6 by Bahttacharyya . The author argues that MR (Mechanistic Reasoning) using the EPF (Electron-Pushing Formalism) incorporates several other forms of reasoning, and is also considered as a useful transferrable skill for the biomedical sciences and allied fields.

Flynn considers synthesis problems as among the most challenging questions for students in organic chemistry courses. In Chapter 7, she describes the strategies used by students who have been successful in solving synthetic problems. Associated classroom and problem set activities are also described.

We all know that the determination of chemical identity is a fundamental chemistry practice that now depends almost exclusively on the characterization of molecular structure through spectroscopic analysis. This analysis is a day-to-day task for practicing organic chemists, and instruction in modern organic chemistry aims to cultivate such expertise. Accordingly, in Chapter 8, Connor and Shultz review studies that have investigated reasoning and problem solving approaches used to evaluate NMR and IR spectroscopic data for organic structural determination, and they provide a foundation for understanding how this problem solving expertise develops and how instruction may facilitate such learning. The aim is to present the current state of research, empirical insights into teaching and learning this practice, and trends in instructional innovations.

The idea that variation exists within a system and the varied population schema described by Talanquer are the theoretical tools for the study by Rodriguez, Hux, Philips, and Towns , which is reported in Chapter 9. The subject of the study is chemical kinetics in biochemistry, and especially of the action and mechanisms of inhibition agents in enzyme catalysis, where a sophisticated understanding requires students to learn to reason using probability-based reasoning.

In Chapter 10, Phelps, Hawkins and Hunter consider the purpose of the academic chemistry laboratory, with emphasis on the practice of problem solving skills beyond those of an algorithmic mathematical nature. The purpose represents a departure from the procedural skills training often associated with the reason we engage in laboratory work (learning to titrate for example). While technical skills are of course important, if part of what we are doing in undergraduate chemistry courses is to prepare students to go on to undertake research, somewhere in the curriculum there should be opportunities to practice solving problems that are both open-ended and laboratory-based. The history of academic chemistry laboratory practice is reviewed and its current state considered.

Chapter 11 by Broman focuses on chemistry problems and problem solving by employing context-based learning approaches, where open-ended problems focusing on higher-order thinking are explored. Chemistry teachers suggested contexts that they thought their students would find interesting and relevant, e.g. , chocolate, doping, and dietary supplements. The chapter analyses students’ interviews after they worked with the problems and discusses how to enhance student interest and perceived relevance in chemistry, and how students’ learning can be improved.

Team Based Learning (TBL) is the theme of Chapter 12 by Capel, Hancock, Howe, Jones, Phillips , and Plana . TBL is a structured small group collaborative form of learning, where learners are required to prepare for sessions in advance, then discuss and debate potential solutions to problems with their peers. It has been found to be highly effective at facilitating active learning. The authors describe their experience with embedding TBL into their chemistry curricula at all levels, including a transnational degree program with a Chinese university.

The ability of students to learn and value aspects of the chemistry curriculum that delve into the molecular basis of chemical events relies on the use of models/molecular representations, and enhanced awareness of how these models connect to chemical observations. Molecular representations in chemistry is the topic of Chapter 13 by Polifka, Baluyut and Holme , which focuses on technology solutions that enhance student understanding and learning of these conceptual aspects of chemistry.

In Chapter 14, Limniou, Papadopoulos, Gavril, Touni , and Chatziapostolidou present an IR spectra simulation. The software includes a wide range of chemical compounds supported by real IR spectra, allowing students to learn how to interpret an IR spectrum, via a step by step process. The chapter includes a report on a pilot trial with a small-scale face-to-face learning environment. The software is available on the Internet for everyone to download and use.

In Chapter 15, Sigalas explores chemistry problems with computational quantum chemistry tools in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum, the use of computational chemistry for the study of chemical phenomena, and the prediction and interpretation of experimental data from thermodynamics and isomerism to reaction mechanisms and spectroscopy. The pros and cons of a series of software tools for building molecular models, preparation of input data for standard software, and visualization of computational results are discussed.

In Chapter 16, Stamovlasis and Vaiopoulou address methodological and epistemological issues concerning research in chemistry problem solving. Following a short review of the relevant literature with emphasis on methodology and the statistical modeling used, the weak points of the traditional approaches are discussed and a novel epistemological framework based on complex dynamical system theory is described. Notably, research using catastrophe theory provides empirical evidence for these phenomena by modeling and explaining mental overload effects and students’ failures. Examples of the application of this theory to chemistry problem solving is reviewed.

Chapter 17 provides extended summaries of the chapters, including a commentary on the chapters. The chapter also provides a brief coverage of various important issues and topics related to chemistry problem solving that are not covered by other chapters in the book.

Finally, in Chapter 18, a Postscript address two specific problem solving issues: (a) the potential synergy between higher and lower-order thinking skills (HOTS and LOTS,) and (b) When problem solving might descend to chaos dynamics. The synergy between HOTS and LOTS is demonstrated by looking at the contribution of chemistry and biochemistry to overcoming the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One the other hand, chaos theory provides an analogy with the time span of the predictive power of problem solving models.

«Ἀρχὴ παιδεύσεως ἡ τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐπίσκεψις» (Archē paedeuseōs hē tōn onomatōn episkepsis). By Antisthenes (ancient Greek philosopher), translated by W. A. Oldfather (1925).

  • Campaigning and outreach
  • News and events
  • Awards and funding
  • Privacy policy
  • Journals and databases
  • Locations and contacts
  • Membership and professional community
  • Teaching and learning
  • Help and legal
  • Cookie policy
  • Terms and conditions
  • Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Registered charity number: 207890
  • © Royal Society of Chemistry 2023

This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Thinking: Problem Solving and Reasoning

Cite this chapter.

bourne's theory of problem solving

  • Donald H. Kausler 2  

137 Accesses

1 Citations

Bourne et al. (1979) reminded us that real-life problems come in all shapes and sizes. Earlier we observed that these real-life problems are faced by adults of all ages. Our concern is with what happens to problem-solving proficiency over the course of the adult segment of the life span and with what accounts for age changes in proficiency. To study problem-solving behavior in the laboratory, psychologists have introduced a number of specific problem situations that are intended to simulate a myriad of problem situations encountered in the real world. Several of these problems are given in Table 11.1. Our initial step will be to examine the processes that have been postulated by both associationists and cognitive psychologists to enter into the solving of these kinds of problems (see Bourne, Dominowski, Loftus, & Healy, 1986; Bourne et al., 1979; Glass, Holyoak, & Santa, 1979; and Newell & Simon, 1972; for more detailed reviews). Along the way, we will indicate likely candidates for age sensitivity.

ArticleNote Problems come in all shapes and sizes but generally share the characteristic that the individual must discover what to do in order to achieve a goal. Whether looking for the screwdriver that isn’t where it’s supposed to be, searching for a friend’s house in an unfamiliar neighborhood, trying to figure out why the car won’t start, or working on a mathematics exam in school, a person faces a situation in which the correct response is somewhat uncertain. (Bourne, Dominowski, & Loftus, 1979, p. 232)

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Unable to display preview.  Download preview PDF.

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia, 65211, Columbia, Missouri, USA

Donald H. Kausler

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 1991 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

About this chapter

Kausler, D.H. (1991). Thinking: Problem Solving and Reasoning. In: Experimental Psychology, Cognition, and Human Aging. Springer, New York, NY.

Download citation


Publisher Name : Springer, New York, NY

Print ISBN : 978-1-4613-9697-0

Online ISBN : 978-1-4613-9695-6

eBook Packages : Springer Book Archive

Share this chapter

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

  • Find a journal
  • Track your research
  • Subject List
  • Take a Tour
  • For Authors
  • Subscriber Services
  • Publications
  • African American Studies
  • African Studies
  • American Literature
  • Anthropology
  • Architecture Planning and Preservation
  • Art History
  • Atlantic History
  • Biblical Studies
  • British and Irish Literature
  • Childhood Studies
  • Chinese Studies
  • Cinema and Media Studies
  • Communication
  • Criminology
  • Environmental Science
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • International Law
  • International Relations
  • Islamic Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Latino Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Literary and Critical Theory
  • Medieval Studies
  • Military History
  • Political Science
  • Public Health
  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • Social Work
  • Urban Studies
  • Victorian Literature
  • Browse All Subjects

How to Subscribe

  • Free Trials

In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Problem Solving and Decision Making


  • General Approaches to Problem Solving
  • Representational Accounts
  • Problem Space and Search
  • Working Memory and Problem Solving
  • Domain-Specific Problem Solving
  • The Rational Approach
  • Prospect Theory
  • Dual-Process Theory
  • Cognitive Heuristics and Biases

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" section about

About related articles close popup.

Lorem Ipsum Sit Dolor Amet

Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Aliquam ligula odio, euismod ut aliquam et, vestibulum nec risus. Nulla viverra, arcu et iaculis consequat, justo diam ornare tellus, semper ultrices tellus nunc eu tellus.

  • Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Psychology
  • Counterfactual Reasoning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Heuristics and Biases
  • Protocol Analysis
  • Psychology and Law

Other Subject Areas

Forthcoming articles expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section.

  • Data Visualization
  • Executive Functions in Childhood
  • Remote Work
  • Find more forthcoming articles...
  • Export Citations
  • Share This Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

Problem Solving and Decision Making by Emily G. Nielsen , John Paul Minda LAST REVIEWED: 26 June 2019 LAST MODIFIED: 26 June 2019 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0246

Problem solving and decision making are both examples of complex, higher-order thinking. Both involve the assessment of the environment, the involvement of working memory or short-term memory, reliance on long term memory, effects of knowledge, and the application of heuristics to complete a behavior. A problem can be defined as an impasse or gap between a current state and a desired goal state. Problem solving is the set of cognitive operations that a person engages in to change the current state, to go beyond the impasse, and achieve a desired outcome. Problem solving involves the mental representation of the problem state and the manipulation of this representation in order to move closer to the goal. Problems can vary in complexity, abstraction, and how well defined (or not) the initial state and the goal state are. Research has generally approached problem solving by examining the behaviors and cognitive processes involved, and some work has examined problem solving using computational processes as well. Decision making is the process of selecting and choosing one action or behavior out of several alternatives. Like problem solving, decision making involves the coordination of memories and executive resources. Research on decision making has paid particular attention to the cognitive biases that account for suboptimal decisions and decisions that deviate from rationality. The current bibliography first outlines some general resources on the psychology of problem solving and decision making before examining each of these topics in detail. Specifically, this review covers cognitive, neuroscientific, and computational approaches to problem solving, as well as decision making models and cognitive heuristics and biases.

General Overviews

Current research in the area of problem solving and decision making is published in both general and specialized scientific journals. Theoretical and scholarly work is often summarized and developed in full-length books and chapter. These may focus on the subfields of problem solving and decision making or the larger field of thinking and higher-order cognition.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login .

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here .

  • About Psychology »
  • Meet the Editorial Board »
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Academic Assessment
  • Acculturation and Health
  • Action Regulation Theory
  • Action Research
  • Addictive Behavior
  • Adolescence
  • Adoption, Social, Psychological, and Evolutionary Perspect...
  • Advanced Theory of Mind
  • Affective Forecasting
  • Affirmative Action
  • Ageism at Work
  • Allport, Gordon
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Ambulatory Assessment in Behavioral Science
  • Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA)
  • Animal Behavior
  • Animal Learning
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Art and Aesthetics, Psychology of
  • Assessment and Clinical Applications of Individual Differe...
  • Attachment in Social and Emotional Development across the ...
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Childre...
  • Attitudinal Ambivalence
  • Attraction in Close Relationships
  • Attribution Theory
  • Authoritarian Personality
  • Bayesian Statistical Methods in Psychology
  • Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Behavioral Genetics
  • Belief Perseverance
  • Bereavement and Grief
  • Biological Psychology
  • Birth Order
  • Body Image in Men and Women
  • Bystander Effect
  • Categorical Data Analysis in Psychology
  • Childhood and Adolescence, Peer Victimization and Bullying...
  • Clark, Mamie Phipps
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Consistency Theories
  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Communication, Nonverbal Cues and
  • Comparative Psychology
  • Competence to Stand Trial: Restoration Services
  • Competency to Stand Trial
  • Computational Psychology
  • Conflict Management in the Workplace
  • Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
  • Consciousness
  • Coping Processes
  • Correspondence Analysis in Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Creativity at Work
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Cultural Psychology
  • Daily Life, Research Methods for Studying
  • Data Science Methods for Psychology
  • Data Sharing in Psychology
  • Death and Dying
  • Deceiving and Detecting Deceit
  • Defensive Processes
  • Depressive Disorders
  • Development, Prenatal
  • Developmental Psychology (Cognitive)
  • Developmental Psychology (Social)
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM...
  • Discrimination
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Drugs and Behavior
  • Eating Disorders
  • Ecological Psychology
  • Educational Settings, Assessment of Thinking in
  • Effect Size
  • Embodiment and Embodied Cognition
  • Emerging Adulthood
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Empathy and Altruism
  • Employee Stress and Well-Being
  • Environmental Neuroscience and Environmental Psychology
  • Ethics in Psychological Practice
  • Event Perception
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Expansive Posture
  • Experimental Existential Psychology
  • Exploratory Data Analysis
  • Eyewitness Testimony
  • Eysenck, Hans
  • Factor Analysis
  • Festinger, Leon
  • Five-Factor Model of Personality
  • Flynn Effect, The
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Forgiveness
  • Friendships, Children's
  • Fundamental Attribution Error/Correspondence Bias
  • Gambler's Fallacy
  • Game Theory and Psychology
  • Geropsychology, Clinical
  • Global Mental Health
  • Habit Formation and Behavior Change
  • Health Psychology
  • Health Psychology Research and Practice, Measurement in
  • Heider, Fritz
  • History of Psychology
  • Human Factors
  • Humanistic Psychology
  • Implicit Association Test (IAT)
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Inferential Statistics in Psychology
  • Insanity Defense, The
  • Intelligence
  • Intelligence, Crystallized and Fluid
  • Intercultural Psychology
  • Intergroup Conflict
  • International Classification of Diseases and Related Healt...
  • International Psychology
  • Interviewing in Forensic Settings
  • Intimate Partner Violence, Psychological Perspectives on
  • Introversion–Extraversion
  • Item Response Theory
  • Law, Psychology and
  • Lazarus, Richard
  • Learned Helplessness
  • Learning Theory
  • Learning versus Performance
  • LGBTQ+ Romantic Relationships
  • Lie Detection in a Forensic Context
  • Life-Span Development
  • Locus of Control
  • Loneliness and Health
  • Mathematical Psychology
  • Meaning in Life
  • Mechanisms and Processes of Peer Contagion
  • Media Violence, Psychological Perspectives on
  • Mediation Analysis
  • Memories, Autobiographical
  • Memories, Flashbulb
  • Memories, Repressed and Recovered
  • Memory, False
  • Memory, Human
  • Memory, Implicit versus Explicit
  • Memory in Educational Settings
  • Memory, Semantic
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Metacognition
  • Metaphor, Psychological Perspectives on
  • Microaggressions
  • Military Psychology
  • Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness and Education
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
  • Money, Psychology of
  • Moral Conviction
  • Moral Development
  • Moral Psychology
  • Moral Reasoning
  • Nature versus Nurture Debate in Psychology
  • Neuroscience of Associative Learning
  • Nonergodicity in Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Nonparametric Statistical Analysis in Psychology
  • Observational (Non-Randomized) Studies
  • Obsessive-Complusive Disorder (OCD)
  • Occupational Health Psychology
  • Olfaction, Human
  • Operant Conditioning
  • Optimism and Pessimism
  • Organizational Justice
  • Parenting Stress
  • Parenting Styles
  • Parents' Beliefs about Children
  • Path Models
  • Peace Psychology
  • Perception, Person
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Personality and Health
  • Personality Disorders
  • Personality Psychology
  • Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies: From Car...
  • Phenomenological Psychology
  • Placebo Effects in Psychology
  • Play Behavior
  • Positive Psychological Capital (PsyCap)
  • Positive Psychology
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Pretrial Publicity
  • Prisoner's Dilemma
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Procrastination
  • Prosocial Behavior
  • Prosocial Spending and Well-Being
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Psychological Literacy
  • Psychological Perspectives on Food and Eating
  • Psychology, Political
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Psychophysics, Visual
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Publication Bias in Psychology
  • Reasoning, Counterfactual
  • Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Relationships
  • Reliability–Contemporary Psychometric Conceptions
  • Religion, Psychology and
  • Replication Initiatives in Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Risk Taking
  • Role of the Expert Witness in Forensic Psychology, The
  • Sample Size Planning for Statistical Power and Accurate Es...
  • Schizophrenic Disorders
  • School Psychology
  • School Psychology, Counseling Services in
  • Self, Gender and
  • Self, Psychology of the
  • Self-Construal
  • Self-Control
  • Self-Deception
  • Self-Determination Theory
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Self-Esteem
  • Self-Monitoring
  • Self-Regulation in Educational Settings
  • Self-Report Tests, Measures, and Inventories in Clinical P...
  • Sensation Seeking
  • Sex and Gender
  • Sexual Minority Parenting
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Signal Detection Theory and its Applications
  • Simpson's Paradox in Psychology
  • Single People
  • Single-Case Experimental Designs
  • Skinner, B.F.
  • Sleep and Dreaming
  • Small Groups
  • Social Class and Social Status
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Neuroscience
  • Social Support
  • Social Touch and Massage Therapy Research
  • Somatoform Disorders
  • Spatial Attention
  • Sports Psychology
  • Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE): Icon and Controversy
  • Stereotype Threat
  • Stereotypes
  • Stress and Coping, Psychology of
  • Student Success in College
  • Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis
  • Taste, Psychological Perspectives on
  • Teaching of Psychology
  • Terror Management Theory
  • Testing and Assessment
  • The Concept of Validity in Psychological Assessment
  • The Neuroscience of Emotion Regulation
  • The Reasoned Action Approach and the Theories of Reasoned ...
  • The Weapon Focus Effect in Eyewitness Memory
  • Theory of Mind
  • Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral
  • Thinking Skills in Educational Settings
  • Time Perception
  • Trait Perspective
  • Trauma Psychology
  • Twin Studies
  • Type A Behavior Pattern (Coronary Prone Personality)
  • Unconscious Processes
  • Video Games and Violent Content
  • Virtues and Character Strengths
  • Women and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM...
  • Women, Psychology of
  • Work Well-Being
  • Workforce Training Evaluation
  • Wundt, Wilhelm
  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookie Policy
  • Legal Notice
  • Accessibility

Powered by:

  • []
  • DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-057299-4.50007-4
  • Corpus ID: 148425377

History of Research on Thinking and Problem Solving

  • R. L. Dominowski , L. Bourne
  • Published 1994
  • Psychology, History

27 Citations

The phenomenology of problem solving, exploring problem conceptualization and performance in stem problem solving contexts, challenges for cognition in intelligence analysis, changes in the relation between cognitive and metacognitive skills during the acquisition of expertise, who has insights the who, where, and when of the eureka moment, a vygotskian perspective on promoting critical thinking in young children through mother-child interactions, an investigation of students' thought processes in solving business problems with a database application., the relationship problem solving (reps) model: how partners influence one another to resolve relationship problems, cognitive challenges and vulnerabilities of intelligence analysis.

  • Highly Influenced

27 References

Elements of a theory of human problem solving., skill acquisition: compilation of weak-method problem solutions., “animal intelligence”, recent research on human problem solving., mathematical theory of concept identification., acquisition and extinction of problem-solving set., the effect of the competition and generalization of sets with respect to manifest anxiety, thinking: from a behavioristic point of view., the effects of single and compound classes of anagrams on set solutions., transmission of information concerning concepts through positive and negative instances., related papers.

Showing 1 through 3 of 0 Related Papers

Breadcrumbs Section. Click here to navigate to respective pages.

The Complete Problem Solver

The Complete Problem Solver

DOI link for The Complete Problem Solver

Get Citation

This unique volume returns in its second edition, revised and updated with the latest advances in problem solving research. It is designed to provide readers with skills that will make them better problem solvers and to give up-to-date information about the psychology of problem solving.   Professor Hayes provides students and professionals with practical, tested methods of defining, representing, and solving problems. Each discussion of the important aspects of human problem solving is supported by the most current research on the psychology problem solving.   The Complete Problem Solver, Second Edition features: *Valuable learning strategies; *Decision making methods; *Discussions of the nature of creativity and invention, and *A new chapter on writing.   The Complete Problem Solver utilizes numerous examples, diagrams, illustrations, and charts to help any reader become better at problem solving. See the order form for the answer to the problem below.


Part i | 107  pages, problem solving theory and practice, chapter 1 | 32  pages, understanding problems: the process of representation, chapter 2 | 33  pages, chapter 3 | 21  pages, protocol analysis, chapter 4 | 17  pages, writing as problem solving, part ii | 100  pages, memory and knowledge acquisition, chapter 5 | 38  pages, the structure of human memory, chapter 6 | 24  pages, using memory effectively, chapter 7 | 36  pages, learning strategies, part iii | 65  pages, decision making, chapter 8 | 18  pages, getting the facts straight: making decisions in a complex world, chapter 9 | 28  pages, the luck of the draw: dealing with chance in decision making, chapter 10 | 17  pages, cost-benefit analysis, part iv | 56  pages, creativity and invention, chapter 11 | 24  pages, cognitive processes in creative acts, chapter 12 | 30  pages, how social conditions affect creativity *.

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Cookie Policy
  • Taylor & Francis Online
  • Taylor & Francis Group
  • Students/Researchers
  • Librarians/Institutions

Connect with us

Registered in England & Wales No. 3099067 5 Howick Place | London | SW1P 1WG © 2024 Informa UK Limited

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

Internet Archive Audio

bourne's theory of problem solving

  • This Just In
  • Grateful Dead
  • Old Time Radio
  • 78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings
  • Audio Books & Poetry
  • Computers, Technology and Science
  • Music, Arts & Culture
  • News & Public Affairs
  • Spirituality & Religion
  • Radio News Archive

bourne's theory of problem solving

  • Flickr Commons
  • Occupy Wall Street Flickr
  • NASA Images
  • Solar System Collection
  • Ames Research Center

bourne's theory of problem solving

  • All Software
  • Old School Emulation
  • MS-DOS Games
  • Historical Software
  • Classic PC Games
  • Software Library
  • Kodi Archive and Support File
  • Vintage Software
  • CD-ROM Software
  • CD-ROM Software Library
  • Software Sites
  • Tucows Software Library
  • Shareware CD-ROMs
  • Software Capsules Compilation
  • CD-ROM Images
  • ZX Spectrum
  • DOOM Level CD

bourne's theory of problem solving

  • Smithsonian Libraries
  • Lincoln Collection
  • American Libraries
  • Canadian Libraries
  • Universal Library
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Children's Library
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • Books by Language
  • Additional Collections

bourne's theory of problem solving

  • Prelinger Archives
  • Democracy Now!
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • TV NSA Clip Library
  • Animation & Cartoons
  • Arts & Music
  • Computers & Technology
  • Cultural & Academic Films
  • Ephemeral Films
  • Sports Videos
  • Videogame Videos
  • Youth Media

Search the history of over 866 billion web pages on the Internet.

Mobile Apps

  • Wayback Machine (iOS)
  • Wayback Machine (Android)

Browser Extensions

Archive-it subscription.

  • Explore the Collections
  • Build Collections

Save Page Now

Capture a web page as it appears now for use as a trusted citation in the future.

Please enter a valid web address

  • Donate Donate icon An illustration of a heart shape

How to solve problems; elements of a theory of problems and problem solving

Bookreader item preview, share or embed this item, flag this item for.

  • Graphic Violence
  • Explicit Sexual Content
  • Hate Speech
  • Misinformation/Disinformation
  • Marketing/Phishing/Advertising
  • Misleading/Inaccurate/Missing Metadata

[WorldCat (this item)]

plus-circle Add Review comment Reviews

491 Previews

23 Favorites

Better World Books


No suitable files to display here.

EPUB and PDF access not available for this item.


Uploaded by Andy Wilcoxon on August 23, 2010

SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)

Home » Learning Theories » Mathematical Problem Solving (A. Schoenfeld)

Mathematical Problem Solving (A. Schoenfeld)

Alan Schoenfeld presents the view that understanding and teaching mathematics should be approached as a problem-solving domain. According to Schoenfeld (1985), four categories of knowledge/skills are needed to be successful in mathematics: (1) resources – proposition and procedural knowledge of mathematics, (2) heuristics – strategies and techniques for problem solving such as working backwards, or drawing figures, (3) control – decisions about when and what resources and strategies to use, and (4) beliefs – a mathematical “world view” that determines how someone approaches a problem.

Schoenfeld’s theory is supported by extensive protocol analysis of students solving problems. The theoretical framework is based upon much other work in cognitive psychology, particularly the work of Newell & Simon. Schoenfeld (1987) places more emphasis on the importance of metacognition and the cultural components of learning mathematics (i.e., belief systems) than in his original formulation.


Schoenfeld’s research and theory applies primarily to college level mathematics.

Schoenfeld (1985, Chapter 1) uses the following problem to illustrate his theory: Given two intersecting straight lines and a point P marked on one of them, show how to construct a circle that is tangent to both lines and has point P as its point of tangency to the lines. Examples of resource knowledge include the procedure to draw a perpendicular line from P to the center of the circle and the significance of this action. An important heuristic for solving this problem is to construct a diagram of the problem. A control strategy might involve the decision to construct an actual circle and line segments using a compass and protractor. A belief that might be relevant to this problem is that solutions should be empirical (i.e., constructed) rather than derived.

  • Successful solution of mathematics problems depends up on a combination of resource knowledge, heuristics, control processes and belief, all of which must be learned and taught.
  • Schoenfeld, A. (1985). Mathematical Problem Solving. New York: Academic Press.
  • Schoenfeld, A. (1987). Cognitive Science and Mathematics Education. Hillsdale , NJ: Erlbaum Assoc.


  • Author Services


You are accessing a machine-readable page. In order to be human-readable, please install an RSS reader.

All articles published by MDPI are made immediately available worldwide under an open access license. No special permission is required to reuse all or part of the article published by MDPI, including figures and tables. For articles published under an open access Creative Common CC BY license, any part of the article may be reused without permission provided that the original article is clearly cited. For more information, please refer to .

Feature papers represent the most advanced research with significant potential for high impact in the field. A Feature Paper should be a substantial original Article that involves several techniques or approaches, provides an outlook for future research directions and describes possible research applications.

Feature papers are submitted upon individual invitation or recommendation by the scientific editors and must receive positive feedback from the reviewers.

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

Original Submission Date Received: .

  • Active Journals
  • Find a Journal
  • Proceedings Series
  • For Authors
  • For Reviewers
  • For Editors
  • For Librarians
  • For Publishers
  • For Societies
  • For Conference Organizers
  • Open Access Policy
  • Institutional Open Access Program
  • Special Issues Guidelines
  • Editorial Process
  • Research and Publication Ethics
  • Article Processing Charges
  • Testimonials
  • SciProfiles
  • Encyclopedia


Article Menu

bourne's theory of problem solving

  • Subscribe SciFeed
  • Recommended Articles
  • Google Scholar
  • on Google Scholar
  • Table of Contents

Find support for a specific problem in the support section of our website.

Please let us know what you think of our products and services.

Visit our dedicated information section to learn more about MDPI.

JSmol Viewer

Cost-effective planning of hybrid energy systems using improved horse herd optimizer and cloud theory under uncertainty.

bourne's theory of problem solving

Share and Cite

Alghamdi, A.S. Cost-Effective Planning of Hybrid Energy Systems Using Improved Horse Herd Optimizer and Cloud Theory under Uncertainty. Electronics 2024 , 13 , 2471.

Alghamdi AS. Cost-Effective Planning of Hybrid Energy Systems Using Improved Horse Herd Optimizer and Cloud Theory under Uncertainty. Electronics . 2024; 13(13):2471.

Alghamdi, Ali S. 2024. "Cost-Effective Planning of Hybrid Energy Systems Using Improved Horse Herd Optimizer and Cloud Theory under Uncertainty" Electronics 13, no. 13: 2471.

Article Metrics

Article access statistics, further information, mdpi initiatives, follow mdpi.


Subscribe to receive issue release notifications and newsletters from MDPI journals


  1. The Four Stages Of Problem Solving Adapted From The I

    bourne's theory of problem solving

  2. PPT

    bourne's theory of problem solving

  3. Situational theory of problem solving

    bourne's theory of problem solving

  4. SOLUTION: Theory of problem solving

    bourne's theory of problem solving

  5. PPT

    bourne's theory of problem solving

  6. The situational theory of problem solving

    bourne's theory of problem solving


  1. Setting FAIR and FUNCTIONAL BOUNDARIES is a learned behavior and problem solving technique

  2. Complex Numbers Rotation Theorem ( coni method ) JEE

  3. Theory of Computation Lecture: Product Construction Example + NFAs

  4. Theory of Computation: Planar Pushdown Automata

  5. Problem solving session-IV

  6. SET THEORY [Problem solving 2] #Venndiagrams #3variables


  1. PDF Thinking: Problem Solving and Reasoning

    faces a situation in which the correct response is somewhat uncertain. (Bourne, Dominowski, & Loftus, 1979, p. 232) Bourne et al. (1979) reminded us that real-life problems come in all shapes and sizes. Earlier we observed that these real-life problems are faced by adults of all ages. Our concern is with what happens to problem-solving

  2. Introduction − The Many Types and Kinds of Chemistry Problems

    In 1979, Bourne, Dominowski, and Loftus modeled a three-stage process, consisting of preparation, ... Examples of the application of this theory to chemistry problem solving is reviewed. Chapter 17 provides extended summaries of the chapters, including a commentary on the chapters. The chapter also provides a brief coverage of various important ...

  3. Problem Solving Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like What are the 4 aspects of Bourne's theory of problem solving, What are the 3 types of problem?, Thorndikes Behaviourist THeory and more.

  4. Thinking: Problem Solving and Reasoning

    Bourne et al. (1979) reminded us that real-life problems come in all shapes and sizes. Earlier we observed that these real-life problems are faced by adults of all ages. Our concern is with what happens to problem-solving proficiency over the course of the adult...

  5. 2

    2 - The Problem Solving Process - Bourne to Code

  6. Thinking and Problem Solving

    Description. Thinking and Problem-Solving presents a comprehensive and up-to-date review of literature on cognition, reasoning, intelligence, and other formative areas specific to this field. Written for advanced undergraduates, researchers, and academics, this volume is a necessary reference for beginning and established investigators in ...

  7. Problem Solving

    Problem solving refers to cognitive processing directed at achieving a goal when the problem solver does not initially know a solution method. A problem exists when someone has a goal but does not know how to achieve it. Problems can be classified as routine or nonroutine, and as well defined or ill defined.

  8. Theory of Problem Solving

    The problem solving is a personal and aimed process. That means that the activities done by an individual during the problem solving process are led to his/her personal aim (Mayer and Wittrock, 2006). An individual has to identify the problem first and then seek for possible solutions (Mayer and Wittrock, 2006).

  9. Problem Solving and Decision Making

    Problem solving and decision making are both examples of complex, higher-order thinking. Both involve the assessment of the environment, the involvement of working memory or short-term memory, reliance on long term memory, effects of knowledge, and the application of heuristics to complete a behavior. A problem can be defined as an impasse or ...

  10. History of Research on Thinking and Problem Solving

    The Relationship Problem Solving model is introduced for understanding the process through which romantic partners influence one another to resolve relationship problems and the need to consider the role of context in the problem-solving process is highlighted. Expand. 9. PDF.

  11. History of Research on Thinking and Problem Solving

    According to Wallas (1926), the four stages of creative acts are: (1) preparation, or the collection and assembly of problem-relevant information; (2) incubation, a mulling over period; (3) illumination or insight, the conception of a solution; and (4) verification that the solution actually works. C.

  12. (PDF) Theory of Problem Solving

    inconsistency" of the situation; the problem solving consists of the removal of the conflict and the finding. of the desired object. b) a disorder in the objective situation or in the structure of ...

  13. Problem solving Flashcards

    Bourne's Theory Of Problem Solving. Define the problem Generate possible solutions Evaluate possible solutions Solve the problem. Types Of Problem. Adversary Non adversary Routine. Behaviourists. Thorndike states that problem solving is essentially "Trial and Error" This refers to stimulus response theories in behaviourism.

  14. Problem solving Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Describe Bourne's theory of problem solving, State the 3 types of problems, Describe Thorndike behaviorism theory and more.

  15. What is problem solving? A review of theory, research and applications

    Structured training or therapy programmes designed to develop cognitive problem-solving skills are now widely used in criminal justice and mental health settings. Method. This paper describes the conceptual origins and theoretical models on which such programmes are based, and provides a historical overview of their development.

  16. The Complete Problem Solver

    The Complete Problem Solver, Second Edition features: *Valuable learning strategies; *Decision making methods; *Discussions of the nature of creativity and invention, and. *A new chapter on writing. The Complete Problem Solver utilizes numerous examples, diagrams, illustrations, and charts to help any reader become better at problem solving.

  17. Problem Solving

    Abstract. This chapter follows the historical development of research on problem solving. It begins with a description of two research traditions that addressed different aspects of the problem-solving process: (1) research on problem representation (the Gestalt legacy) that examined how people understand the problem at hand, and (2) research on search in a problem space (the legacy of Newell ...

  18. Randolph Bourne: The Education of a Critic an Interpretation

    values, Randolph Bourne is an important figure. It is for the purposes of examining the role of the critic that I am using Bourne in this paper, though my general interest in the intellectual. significance of his time and the educational and philosophical implica-. tions of his writings will undoubtedly enter in.

  19. Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Thinking and Problem Solving

    Publisher Summary. This chapter discusses the contemporary approaches to the study of thinking and problem solving. The modal approach to create a comprehensive theory of thinking strives to identify simple conditions under which a given type of thinking can be reliably reproduced. Following the successful example of experimenters in many of ...

  20. How to solve problems; elements of a theory of problems and problem solving

    Introduction -- Problem theory -- Inference -- Classification of action sequences -- State evaluation and hill climbing -- Subgoals -- Contradiction -- Working backward -- Relations between problems -- Topics in mathematical representation -- Problems from mathematics, science, and engineering

  21. Basic assumptions and application of the theory of problem solving

    Considers assumptions of the general theory of problem solving with regard to psychological and educational problems. Solution of the cognitive task demands improvement of the particular knowledge possessed by the solver. This improvement consists of the ensuring of sufficient completeness (in terms of both the volume and adequacy) of the information about the object of cognition.

  22. problem solving Flashcards

    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like Bourne theory, types of problems, behaviourist and more.

  23. Mathematical Problem Solving (A. Schoenfeld)

    Alan Schoenfeld presents the view that understanding and teaching mathematics should be approached as a problem-solving domain. According to Schoenfeld (1985), four categories of knowledge/skills are needed to be successful in mathematics: (1) resources - proposition and procedural knowledge of mathematics, (2) heuristics - strategies and techniques for problem solving such as working ...

  24. Electronics

    In this paper, an intelligent stochastic model is recommended for the optimization of a hybrid system that encompasses wind energy sources, battery storage, combined heat and power generation, and thermal energy storage (Wind/Battery/CHP/TES), with the inclusion of electric and thermal storages through the cloud theory model. The framework aims to minimize the costs of planning, such as ...