The Process of Problem Solving

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johnson's stages of problem solving

In a 2013 article published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychology , Ngar Yin Louis Lee (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and APS William James Fellow Philip N. Johnson-Laird (Princeton University) examined the ways people develop strategies to solve related problems. In a series of three experiments, the researchers asked participants to solve series of matchstick problems.

In matchstick problems, participants are presented with an array of joined squares. Each square in the array is comprised of separate pieces. Participants are asked to remove a certain number of pieces from the array while still maintaining a specific number of intact squares. Matchstick problems are considered to be fairly sophisticated, as there is generally more than one solution, several different tactics can be used to complete the task, and the types of tactics that are appropriate can change depending on the configuration of the array.

Louis Lee and Johnson-Laird began by examining what influences the tactics people use when they are first confronted with the matchstick problem. They found that initial problem-solving tactics were constrained by perceptual features of the array, with participants solving symmetrical problems and problems with salient solutions faster. Participants frequently used tactics that involved symmetry and salience even when other solutions that did not involve these features existed.

To examine how problem solving develops over time, the researchers had participants solve a series of matchstick problems while verbalizing their problem-solving thought process. The findings from this second experiment showed that people tend to go through two different stages when solving a series of problems.

People begin their problem-solving process in a generative manner during which they explore various tactics — some successful and some not. Then they use their experience to narrow down their choices of tactics, focusing on those that are the most successful. The point at which people begin to rely on this newfound tactical knowledge to create their strategic moves indicates a shift into a more evaluative stage of problem solving.

In the third and last experiment, participants completed a set of matchstick problems that could be solved using similar tactics and then solved several problems that required the use of novel tactics.  The researchers found that participants often had trouble leaving their set of successful tactics behind and shifting to new strategies.

From the three studies, the researchers concluded that when people tackle a problem, their initial moves may be constrained by perceptual components of the problem. As they try out different tactics, they hone in and settle on the ones that are most efficient; however, this deduced knowledge can in turn come to constrain players’ generation of moves — something that can make it difficult to switch to new tactics when required.

These findings help expand our understanding of the role of reasoning and deduction in problem solving and of the processes involved in the shift from less to more effective problem-solving strategies.

Reference Louis Lee, N. Y., Johnson-Laird, P. N. (2013). Strategic changes in problem solving. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25 , 165–173. doi: 10.1080/20445911.2012.719021

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All About Psychology

The 5 phases of problem solving

phases of problem solving

Problem solving is a complex psychological process through which we try to find the best way to overcome an obstacle or face a challenge. Unfortunately, this process is not always linear, but can follow tortuous paths, plunging us into a situation of psychological anguish when we believe that there is no possible solution.

On the other hand, knowing the phases of problem solving will save us a lot of headaches. Providing a coherent structure to the situation that concerns us, and having a common thread that guides us along the way, will help us to put some order in the mental chaos that problems usually generate.

To Solve a Problem, Experience Does not Always Work in Our Favor

Experience can be a plus or, on the contrary, become an impediment to solving problems. Psychologists from the universities of Hong Kong and Princeton examined how we implement problem-solving strategies by asking a group of people to solve a series of problems with matches.

Participants were presented with a series of linked squares. Each square in the matrix was made up of separate pieces, and people had to remove a certain number of matches while keeping a specified number of squares intact. The interesting thing about these types of problems is that they generally have more than one solution, different strategies can be used and these must change according to the configuration of the matrix, just as it usually happens with life problems.

These researchers found that participants went through two major stages in problem solving. At first they let themselves be carried away by the perceptual characteristics of the problem and began to explore different strategies, some successful and others not.

In a second moment they used the accumulated experience to narrow their options of strategies, focusing on those that were more successful. The problem is that the more the participants trusted their strategic knowledge, the more difficulties they had in solving problems that demanded the application of novel strategies. In practice, they suffered from a kind of functional fixation.

These series of experiments show us that to solve a problem we must keep an open mind because along the way circumstances are likely to change and we need the mental flexibility necessary to change our problem-solving strategies.

The Stages of Problem Solving We Can All Apply

1. Identify the problem

It may seem like a truism, but the truth is that identifying the real problem is not as easy as it seems, especially when it comes to a situation that affects us emotionally. In fact, when the problem is too scary or we sense that we do not have the psychological tools to solve it, we usually put into practice defense mechanisms such as displacement that allow us to erase the problematic situation from our conscious mind.

Instead, being able to identify the problem is the first step in finding a solution. Many times that means stopping looking outside for the culprits and searching within, wondering why a situation is particularly bothering or hindering us.

2. Understand the problem

Many times the problem brings with it the seed of the solution. So one of the steps in solving a problem is making sure we understand it. It is not enough to identify the problem, we need to define it. For this we need to analyze it from different perspectives.

For example, if we are trying to carry out a professional project that does not finish taking off, we have to clarify the reasons. Do we need more training? Are we in an overly competitive sector? Do we have enough resources? We need to understand the source of the problem.

Organizing the information available is another crucial step in the problem-solving process. We have to ask ourselves both, what we know about the problem and everything we do not know. Ultimately, the accuracy of the solution will largely depend on the amount of information available.

3. Assume a psychological distance

Most of the major problems in life have the potential to generate an emotional tsunami. However, many times that affective involvement obfuscates and prevents us from thinking clearly. That is why on many occasions one of the most important but least known phases for solving problems consists of moving away from what concerns us. To assume a psychological distance , we can take a few days away from the problematic environment or try to stop thinking about what worries us for a while.

During that time the unconscious mind will continue to work and is likely to generate creative and perfectly valid insights that lead to the solution of the problem. That distance to allow us to overcome the functional fixations that prevent us from thinking outside the box, giving way to a mental restructuring that will allow us to see the problem from another perspective.

4. Find solutions and develop strategies

Each problem is different, so it will require a specific solution. A solution cannot always be reached by insight, so it will be necessary to think of possible alternatives to solve the problem. Synectics , for example, is a problem-solving method that uses creativity to find original solutions.

The next step is to develop a strategy, since solutions that do not materialize in concrete steps are very difficult to implement. Therefore, we must ask ourselves how we are going to implement our solution. In this phase of problem solving it is important to be honest with ourselves and “land” that strategy taking into account our resources and real availability. It is useless to develop a great strategy if we cannot apply it later.

5. Evaluation of progress

Very few problems are solved overnight. These are generally complex situations that we must patiently “unwind” over time. Therefore, another of the phases to solve a problem consists of monitoring the results that we are achieving. This way we make sure that we are on the right track and we are not wasting energy and time uselessly.

In this last stage of problem solving it is important to be able to adapt our expectations. It is difficult for a professional project to take off in the blink of an eye, so we must focus on the small steps that indicate that the solution is paying off. To do this, it is important to sit down and reflect on the impact of the solution from time to time.

We must also bear in mind that circumstances often change, so we may need to make adjustments to our initial solution. This requires great mental flexibility to change course when we realize that the strategy is not as effective as we would like.

Fedor, A. et. Al. (2015) Problem solving stages in the five square problem.  Front. Psychol ; 6: 1050.

Louis Lee, N. Y. & Johnson-Laird, P. N. (2013) Strategic changes in problem solving.  Journal of Cognitive Psychology ; 25: 165–173. 

Gillen, G. (2009) Managing Executive Function Impairments to Optimize Function.  Cognitive and Perceptual Rehabilitation ; 245-283.

Jennifer Delgado

Psychologist Jennifer Delgado

I am a psychologist and I spent several years writing articles for scientific journals specialized in Health and Psychology. I want to help you create great experiences. Learn more about me .

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The Problem-Solving Process

Looking at the basic problem-solving process to help keep you on the right track.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

Problem-solving is an important part of planning and decision-making. The process has much in common with the decision-making process, and in the case of complex decisions, can form part of the process itself.

We face and solve problems every day, in a variety of guises and of differing complexity. Some, such as the resolution of a serious complaint, require a significant amount of time, thought and investigation. Others, such as a printer running out of paper, are so quickly resolved they barely register as a problem at all.

johnson's stages of problem solving

Despite the everyday occurrence of problems, many people lack confidence when it comes to solving them, and as a result may chose to stay with the status quo rather than tackle the issue. Broken down into steps, however, the problem-solving process is very simple. While there are many tools and techniques available to help us solve problems, the outline process remains the same.

The main stages of problem-solving are outlined below, though not all are required for every problem that needs to be solved.

johnson's stages of problem solving

1. Define the Problem

Clarify the problem before trying to solve it. A common mistake with problem-solving is to react to what the problem appears to be, rather than what it actually is. Write down a simple statement of the problem, and then underline the key words. Be certain there are no hidden assumptions in the key words you have underlined. One way of doing this is to use a synonym to replace the key words. For example, ‘We need to encourage higher productivity ’ might become ‘We need to promote superior output ’ which has a different meaning.

2. Analyze the Problem

Ask yourself, and others, the following questions.

  • Where is the problem occurring?
  • When is it occurring?
  • Why is it happening?

Be careful not to jump to ‘who is causing the problem?’. When stressed and faced with a problem it is all too easy to assign blame. This, however, can cause negative feeling and does not help to solve the problem. As an example, if an employee is underperforming, the root of the problem might lie in a number of areas, such as lack of training, workplace bullying or management style. To assign immediate blame to the employee would not therefore resolve the underlying issue.

Once the answers to the where, when and why have been determined, the following questions should also be asked:

  • Where can further information be found?
  • Is this information correct, up-to-date and unbiased?
  • What does this information mean in terms of the available options?

3. Generate Potential Solutions

When generating potential solutions it can be a good idea to have a mixture of ‘right brain’ and ‘left brain’ thinkers. In other words, some people who think laterally and some who think logically. This provides a balance in terms of generating the widest possible variety of solutions while also being realistic about what can be achieved. There are many tools and techniques which can help produce solutions, including thinking about the problem from a number of different perspectives, and brainstorming, where a team or individual write as many possibilities as they can think of to encourage lateral thinking and generate a broad range of potential solutions.

4. Select Best Solution

When selecting the best solution, consider:

  • Is this a long-term solution, or a ‘quick fix’?
  • Is the solution achievable in terms of available resources and time?
  • Are there any risks associated with the chosen solution?
  • Could the solution, in itself, lead to other problems?

This stage in particular demonstrates why problem-solving and decision-making are so closely related.

5. Take Action

In order to implement the chosen solution effectively, consider the following:

  • What will the situation look like when the problem is resolved?
  • What needs to be done to implement the solution? Are there systems or processes that need to be adjusted?
  • What will be the success indicators?
  • What are the timescales for the implementation? Does the scale of the problem/implementation require a project plan?
  • Who is responsible?

Once the answers to all the above questions are written down, they can form the basis of an action plan.

6. Monitor and Review

One of the most important factors in successful problem-solving is continual observation and feedback. Use the success indicators in the action plan to monitor progress on a regular basis. Is everything as expected? Is everything on schedule? Keep an eye on priorities and timelines to prevent them from slipping.

If the indicators are not being met, or if timescales are slipping, consider what can be done. Was the plan realistic? If so, are sufficient resources being made available? Are these resources targeting the correct part of the plan? Or does the plan need to be amended? Regular review and discussion of the action plan is important so small adjustments can be made on a regular basis to help keep everything on track.

Once all the indicators have been met and the problem has been resolved, consider what steps can now be taken to prevent this type of problem recurring? It may be that the chosen solution already prevents a recurrence, however if an interim or partial solution has been chosen it is important not to lose momentum.

Problems, by their very nature, will not always fit neatly into a structured problem-solving process. This process, therefore, is designed as a framework which can be adapted to individual needs and nature.

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Overview of the Problem-Solving Mental Process

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

johnson's stages of problem solving

Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.

johnson's stages of problem solving

  • Identify the Problem
  • Define the Problem
  • Form a Strategy
  • Organize Information
  • Allocate Resources
  • Monitor Progress
  • Evaluate the Results

Frequently Asked Questions

Problem-solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analyzing, and solving problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue.

The best strategy for solving a problem depends largely on the unique situation. In some cases, people are better off learning everything they can about the issue and then using factual knowledge to come up with a solution. In other instances, creativity and insight are the best options.

It is not necessary to follow problem-solving steps sequentially, It is common to skip steps or even go back through steps multiple times until the desired solution is reached.

In order to correctly solve a problem, it is often important to follow a series of steps. Researchers sometimes refer to this as the problem-solving cycle. While this cycle is portrayed sequentially, people rarely follow a rigid series of steps to find a solution.

The following steps include developing strategies and organizing knowledge.

1. Identifying the Problem

While it may seem like an obvious step, identifying the problem is not always as simple as it sounds. In some cases, people might mistakenly identify the wrong source of a problem, which will make attempts to solve it inefficient or even useless.

Some strategies that you might use to figure out the source of a problem include :

  • Asking questions about the problem
  • Breaking the problem down into smaller pieces
  • Looking at the problem from different perspectives
  • Conducting research to figure out what relationships exist between different variables

2. Defining the Problem

After the problem has been identified, it is important to fully define the problem so that it can be solved. You can define a problem by operationally defining each aspect of the problem and setting goals for what aspects of the problem you will address

At this point, you should focus on figuring out which aspects of the problems are facts and which are opinions. State the problem clearly and identify the scope of the solution.

3. Forming a Strategy

After the problem has been identified, it is time to start brainstorming potential solutions. This step usually involves generating as many ideas as possible without judging their quality. Once several possibilities have been generated, they can be evaluated and narrowed down.

The next step is to develop a strategy to solve the problem. The approach used will vary depending upon the situation and the individual's unique preferences. Common problem-solving strategies include heuristics and algorithms.

  • Heuristics are mental shortcuts that are often based on solutions that have worked in the past. They can work well if the problem is similar to something you have encountered before and are often the best choice if you need a fast solution.
  • Algorithms are step-by-step strategies that are guaranteed to produce a correct result. While this approach is great for accuracy, it can also consume time and resources.

Heuristics are often best used when time is of the essence, while algorithms are a better choice when a decision needs to be as accurate as possible.

4. Organizing Information

Before coming up with a solution, you need to first organize the available information. What do you know about the problem? What do you not know? The more information that is available the better prepared you will be to come up with an accurate solution.

When approaching a problem, it is important to make sure that you have all the data you need. Making a decision without adequate information can lead to biased or inaccurate results.

5. Allocating Resources

Of course, we don't always have unlimited money, time, and other resources to solve a problem. Before you begin to solve a problem, you need to determine how high priority it is.

If it is an important problem, it is probably worth allocating more resources to solving it. If, however, it is a fairly unimportant problem, then you do not want to spend too much of your available resources on coming up with a solution.

At this stage, it is important to consider all of the factors that might affect the problem at hand. This includes looking at the available resources, deadlines that need to be met, and any possible risks involved in each solution. After careful evaluation, a decision can be made about which solution to pursue.

6. Monitoring Progress

After selecting a problem-solving strategy, it is time to put the plan into action and see if it works. This step might involve trying out different solutions to see which one is the most effective.

It is also important to monitor the situation after implementing a solution to ensure that the problem has been solved and that no new problems have arisen as a result of the proposed solution.

Effective problem-solvers tend to monitor their progress as they work towards a solution. If they are not making good progress toward reaching their goal, they will reevaluate their approach or look for new strategies .

7. Evaluating the Results

After a solution has been reached, it is important to evaluate the results to determine if it is the best possible solution to the problem. This evaluation might be immediate, such as checking the results of a math problem to ensure the answer is correct, or it can be delayed, such as evaluating the success of a therapy program after several months of treatment.

Once a problem has been solved, it is important to take some time to reflect on the process that was used and evaluate the results. This will help you to improve your problem-solving skills and become more efficient at solving future problems.

A Word From Verywell​

It is important to remember that there are many different problem-solving processes with different steps, and this is just one example. Problem-solving in real-world situations requires a great deal of resourcefulness, flexibility, resilience, and continuous interaction with the environment.

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You can become a better problem solving by:

  • Practicing brainstorming and coming up with multiple potential solutions to problems
  • Being open-minded and considering all possible options before making a decision
  • Breaking down problems into smaller, more manageable pieces
  • Asking for help when needed
  • Researching different problem-solving techniques and trying out new ones
  • Learning from mistakes and using them as opportunities to grow

It's important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner about what's going on. Try to see things from their perspective as well as your own. Work together to find a resolution that works for both of you. Be willing to compromise and accept that there may not be a perfect solution.

Take breaks if things are getting too heated, and come back to the problem when you feel calm and collected. Don't try to fix every problem on your own—consider asking a therapist or counselor for help and insight.

If you've tried everything and there doesn't seem to be a way to fix the problem, you may have to learn to accept it. This can be difficult, but try to focus on the positive aspects of your life and remember that every situation is temporary. Don't dwell on what's going wrong—instead, think about what's going right. Find support by talking to friends or family. Seek professional help if you're having trouble coping.

Davidson JE, Sternberg RJ, editors.  The Psychology of Problem Solving .  Cambridge University Press; 2003. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511615771

Sarathy V. Real world problem-solving .  Front Hum Neurosci . 2018;12:261. Published 2018 Jun 26. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00261

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."


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Book cover

Creativity and Innovation pp 117–147 Cite as

Creative Problem-Solving

  • Terence Lee 4 ,
  • Lauren O’Mahony 5 &
  • Pia Lebeck 6  
  • First Online: 29 January 2023

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This chapter presents Alex Osborn’s 1953 creative problem-solving (CPS) model as a three-procedure approach that can be deployed to problems that emerge in our everyday lives. The three procedures are fact-finding, idea-finding and solution-finding, with each step carefully informed by both divergent and convergent thinking. Using case studies to elaborate on the efficacy of CPS, the chapter also identifies a few common flaws that can impact on creativity and innovation. This chapter explores the challenges posed by ‘wicked problems’ that are particularly challenging in that they are ill-defined, unique, contradictory, multi-causal and recurring; it considers the practical importance of building team environments, of embracing diversity and difference, and other characteristics of effective teams. The chapter builds conceptually and practically on the earlier chapters, especially Chapter 4 , and provides case studies to help make sense of the key principles of creative problem-solving.

  • Creative problem-solving
  • Fact-finding
  • Idea-finding
  • Solution-finding
  • Divergent thinking
  • Convergent thinking
  • Wicked problems

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The creative problem-solving process explored in this chapter is not to be confused with the broader ‘creative process’ that is presented in Chapter 2 of this book. See Chapter 2 to understand what creative process entails.

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Media and Communication, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, Australia

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Lee, T., O’Mahony, L., Lebeck, P. (2023). Creative Problem-Solving. In: Creativity and Innovation. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-8880-6_5

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What is Problem Solving? (Steps, Techniques, Examples)

By Status.net Editorial Team on May 7, 2023 — 5 minutes to read

What Is Problem Solving?

Definition and importance.

Problem solving is the process of finding solutions to obstacles or challenges you encounter in your life or work. It is a crucial skill that allows you to tackle complex situations, adapt to changes, and overcome difficulties with ease. Mastering this ability will contribute to both your personal and professional growth, leading to more successful outcomes and better decision-making.

Problem-Solving Steps

The problem-solving process typically includes the following steps:

  • Identify the issue : Recognize the problem that needs to be solved.
  • Analyze the situation : Examine the issue in depth, gather all relevant information, and consider any limitations or constraints that may be present.
  • Generate potential solutions : Brainstorm a list of possible solutions to the issue, without immediately judging or evaluating them.
  • Evaluate options : Weigh the pros and cons of each potential solution, considering factors such as feasibility, effectiveness, and potential risks.
  • Select the best solution : Choose the option that best addresses the problem and aligns with your objectives.
  • Implement the solution : Put the selected solution into action and monitor the results to ensure it resolves the issue.
  • Review and learn : Reflect on the problem-solving process, identify any improvements or adjustments that can be made, and apply these learnings to future situations.

Defining the Problem

To start tackling a problem, first, identify and understand it. Analyzing the issue thoroughly helps to clarify its scope and nature. Ask questions to gather information and consider the problem from various angles. Some strategies to define the problem include:

  • Brainstorming with others
  • Asking the 5 Ws and 1 H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How)
  • Analyzing cause and effect
  • Creating a problem statement

Generating Solutions

Once the problem is clearly understood, brainstorm possible solutions. Think creatively and keep an open mind, as well as considering lessons from past experiences. Consider:

  • Creating a list of potential ideas to solve the problem
  • Grouping and categorizing similar solutions
  • Prioritizing potential solutions based on feasibility, cost, and resources required
  • Involving others to share diverse opinions and inputs

Evaluating and Selecting Solutions

Evaluate each potential solution, weighing its pros and cons. To facilitate decision-making, use techniques such as:

  • SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Decision-making matrices
  • Pros and cons lists
  • Risk assessments

After evaluating, choose the most suitable solution based on effectiveness, cost, and time constraints.

Implementing and Monitoring the Solution

Implement the chosen solution and monitor its progress. Key actions include:

  • Communicating the solution to relevant parties
  • Setting timelines and milestones
  • Assigning tasks and responsibilities
  • Monitoring the solution and making adjustments as necessary
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the solution after implementation

Utilize feedback from stakeholders and consider potential improvements. Remember that problem-solving is an ongoing process that can always be refined and enhanced.

Problem-Solving Techniques

During each step, you may find it helpful to utilize various problem-solving techniques, such as:

  • Brainstorming : A free-flowing, open-minded session where ideas are generated and listed without judgment, to encourage creativity and innovative thinking.
  • Root cause analysis : A method that explores the underlying causes of a problem to find the most effective solution rather than addressing superficial symptoms.
  • SWOT analysis : A tool used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to a problem or decision, providing a comprehensive view of the situation.
  • Mind mapping : A visual technique that uses diagrams to organize and connect ideas, helping to identify patterns, relationships, and possible solutions.


When facing a problem, start by conducting a brainstorming session. Gather your team and encourage an open discussion where everyone contributes ideas, no matter how outlandish they may seem. This helps you:

  • Generate a diverse range of solutions
  • Encourage all team members to participate
  • Foster creative thinking

When brainstorming, remember to:

  • Reserve judgment until the session is over
  • Encourage wild ideas
  • Combine and improve upon ideas

Root Cause Analysis

For effective problem-solving, identifying the root cause of the issue at hand is crucial. Try these methods:

  • 5 Whys : Ask “why” five times to get to the underlying cause.
  • Fishbone Diagram : Create a diagram representing the problem and break it down into categories of potential causes.
  • Pareto Analysis : Determine the few most significant causes underlying the majority of problems.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis helps you examine the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to your problem. To perform a SWOT analysis:

  • List your problem’s strengths, such as relevant resources or strong partnerships.
  • Identify its weaknesses, such as knowledge gaps or limited resources.
  • Explore opportunities, like trends or new technologies, that could help solve the problem.
  • Recognize potential threats, like competition or regulatory barriers.

SWOT analysis aids in understanding the internal and external factors affecting the problem, which can help guide your solution.

Mind Mapping

A mind map is a visual representation of your problem and potential solutions. It enables you to organize information in a structured and intuitive manner. To create a mind map:

  • Write the problem in the center of a blank page.
  • Draw branches from the central problem to related sub-problems or contributing factors.
  • Add more branches to represent potential solutions or further ideas.

Mind mapping allows you to visually see connections between ideas and promotes creativity in problem-solving.

Examples of Problem Solving in Various Contexts

In the business world, you might encounter problems related to finances, operations, or communication. Applying problem-solving skills in these situations could look like:

  • Identifying areas of improvement in your company’s financial performance and implementing cost-saving measures
  • Resolving internal conflicts among team members by listening and understanding different perspectives, then proposing and negotiating solutions
  • Streamlining a process for better productivity by removing redundancies, automating tasks, or re-allocating resources

In educational contexts, problem-solving can be seen in various aspects, such as:

  • Addressing a gap in students’ understanding by employing diverse teaching methods to cater to different learning styles
  • Developing a strategy for successful time management to balance academic responsibilities and extracurricular activities
  • Seeking resources and support to provide equal opportunities for learners with special needs or disabilities

Everyday life is full of challenges that require problem-solving skills. Some examples include:

  • Overcoming a personal obstacle, such as improving your fitness level, by establishing achievable goals, measuring progress, and adjusting your approach accordingly
  • Navigating a new environment or city by researching your surroundings, asking for directions, or using technology like GPS to guide you
  • Dealing with a sudden change, like a change in your work schedule, by assessing the situation, identifying potential impacts, and adapting your plans to accommodate the change.
  • How to Resolve Employee Conflict at Work [Steps, Tips, Examples]
  • How to Write Inspiring Core Values? 5 Steps with Examples
  • 30 Employee Feedback Examples (Positive & Negative)

An application of Johnson's behavioral model: a case study

  • PMID: 2723701
  • DOI: 10.1207/s15327655jchn0602_2

The utilization of Johnson's approach to assess clients' behavioral systems demonstrated that it is an effective way of determining the many factors that impinge on an individual's ability to cope with and adapt to change. Small (1980) used the Johnson model as a conceptual framework in assessing the needs of visually impaired children and found that for nursing practice, the Johnson model was a practical tool for implementing all phases of the nursing process encompassing the child's feelings, needs, and desires. Holaday (1980) combined the Johnson model and the Piagetian theory to assess the cognitive development of a 6-year-old, chronically ill child. She found that use of this model for assessment allows the nurse to describe objectively the patient's behavior, which serves to indicate the presence of any disequilibrium. The Johnson model can also be used successfully in a group situation such as a support group for Alzheimer's caregivers, where problem solving and making choices to adapt to lifestyle changes are a definite requirement. For professional nurses in clinical practice, the application of models for assessment of clients will allow them to categorize the phenomena they observe and to gain insight into the clinical situations with which they deal.

  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing*
  • Home Nursing / education
  • Home Nursing / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Nursing Process
  • Psychotherapy, Group


The Leading Source of Insights On Business Model Strategy & Tech Business Models


7 Steps To Problem-Solving

The 7 steps to problem-solving is a disciplined and methodical approach to identifying and then addressing the root cause of problems. Instead, a more robust approach involves working through a problem using the hypothesis-driven framework of the scientific method. Each viable hypothesis is tested using a range of specific diagnostics and then recommendations are made.

Table of Contents

Understanding the 7 steps to problem-solving

The core argument of this approach is that the most obvious solutions to a problem are often not the best solutions. 

Good problem-solving in business is a skill that must be learned. Businesses that are adept at problem-solving take responsibility for their own decisions and have courage and confidence in their convictions. Ultimately, this removes doubt which can impede the growth of businesses and indeed employees alike.

Moving through the 7 steps to problem-solving

Although many versions of the 7-step approach exist, the McKinsey approach is the most widely used in business settings. Here is how decision makers can move through each of the steps systematically.

Step 1 – Define the problem

First, the scope and extent of the problem must be identified. Actions and behaviors of individuals must be the focus – instead of a focus on the individuals themselves. Whatever the case, the problem must be clearly defined and be universally accepted by all relevant parties.

Step 2 – Disaggregate the problem

In the second step, break down the problem (challenge) into smaller parts using logic trees and develop an early hypothesis. Here, economic and scientific principles can be useful in brainstorming potential solutions. Avoid cognitive biases, such as deciding that a previous solution should be used again because it worked last time.

Step 3 – Prioritize issues

Which constituent parts could be key driving factors of the problem? Prioritize each according to those which have the biggest impact on the problem. Eliminate parts that have negligible impact. This step helps businesses use their resources wisely.

Step 4 – Plan the analyses

Before testing each hypothesis, develop a work and process plan for each. Staff should be assigned to analytical tasks with unique output and completion dates. Hypothesis testing should also be reviewed at regular intervals to measure viability and adjust strategies accordingly.

Step 5 – Conduct the analyses

In step five, gather the critical data required to accept or reject each hypothesis. Data analysis methods will vary according to the nature of the project, but each business must understand the reasons for implementing specific methods. In question-based problem solving, the Five Whys or Fishbone method may be used. More complicated problems may require the use of statistical analysis . In any case, this is often the longest and most complex step of the process. 

Step 6 – Synthesise the results

Once the results have been determined, they must be synthesized in such a way that they can be tested for validity and logic. In a business context, assess the implications of the findings for a business moving forward. Does it solve the problem? 

Step 7 – Communicate

In the final step, the business must present the solutions in such a way that they link back to the original problem statement. When presenting to clients, this is vital. It shows that the business understands the problem and has a solution supported by facts or hard data. Above all, the data should be woven into a convincing story that ends with recommendations for future action.

Key takeaways

  • 7 steps to problem-solving is a methodical approach to problem-solving based on the scientific method.
  • Although a somewhat rigorous approach, the strategy can be learned by any business willing to devote the time and resources.
  • Fundamentally, the 7 steps to problem-solving method involves formulating and then testing hypotheses. Through the process of elimination, a business can narrow its focus to the likely root cause of a problem.

Key Highlights

  • Definition : The 7 Steps to Problem-Solving is a structured methodology rooted in the scientific method. It emphasizes systematic hypothesis testing and data analysis to identify and address the root cause of problems, avoiding surface-level solutions.
  • Problem-Solving Skill : Effective problem-solving is a learned skill that fosters responsible decision-making, boosts confidence, and supports business growth .
  • Define the Problem : Clearly outline the problem’s scope and impact, focusing on actions and behaviors rather than individuals.
  • Disaggregate the Problem : Break down the problem into smaller parts using logic trees and form early hypotheses. Avoid biases from past solutions.
  • Prioritize Issues : Identify key driving factors of the problem and prioritize them by impact. Eliminate parts with minimal impact to allocate resources efficiently.
  • Plan the Analyses : Develop work and process plans for hypothesis testing, assigning staff and setting completion dates. Regularly review and adjust strategies.
  • Conduct the Analyses : Gather critical data to accept or reject hypotheses. Use methods like Five Whys, Fishbone diagrams, or statistical analysis .
  • Synthesize the Results : Combine and analyze results to determine their validity and implications for the business . Assess if the problem is solved.
  • Communicate : Present solutions that link back to the original problem statement, supported by facts. Create a compelling story ending with recommendations.
  • The 7 Steps to Problem-Solving is based on the scientific method.
  • It requires a structured approach to formulating and testing hypotheses.
  • Businesses willing to invest time and resources can learn and apply this method effectively.

Connected Decision-Making Frameworks

Cynefin Framework


SWOT Analysis


Personal SWOT Analysis


Pareto Analysis


Failure Mode And Effects Analysis


Blindspot Analysis


Comparable Company Analysis


Cost-Benefit Analysis


Agile Business Analysis


SOAR Analysis


STEEPLE Analysis


Pestel Analysis


DESTEP Analysis


Paired Comparison Analysis


Related Strategy Concepts:  Go-To-Market Strategy ,  Marketing Strategy ,  Business Models ,  Tech Business Models ,  Jobs-To-Be Done ,  Design Thinking ,  Lean Startup Canvas ,  Value Chain ,  Value Proposition Canvas ,  Balanced Scorecard ,  Business Model Canvas ,  SWOT Analysis ,  Growth Hacking ,  Bundling ,  Unbundling ,  Bootstrapping ,  Venture Capital ,  Porter’s Five Forces ,  Porter’s Generic Strategies ,  Porter’s Five Forces ,  PESTEL Analysis ,  SWOT ,  Porter’s Diamond Model ,  Ansoff ,  Technology Adoption Curve ,  TOWS ,  SOAR ,  Balanced

Read Next:  Mental Models ,  Biases ,  Bounded Rationality ,  Mandela Effect ,  Dunning-Kruger Effect ,  Lindy Effect ,  Crowding Out Effect ,  Bandwagon Effect ,  Decision-Making Matrix .

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Front-Stage Stars and Backstage Producers: The Role of Judges in Problem-Solving Courts 1

In problem-solving courts judges are no longer neutral arbitrators in adversarial justice processes. Instead, judges directly engage with court participants. The movement towards problem-solving court models emerges from a collaborative therapeutic jurisprudence framework. While most scholars argue judges are the central courtroom actors within problem-solving courts, we find judges are the stars front-stage, but play a more supporting role backstage. We use Goffman's front-stage-backstage framework to analyze 350 hours of ethnographic fieldwork within five problem-solving courts. Problem-solving courts are collaborative organizations with shifting leadership, based on forum. Understanding how the roles of courtroom workgroup actors adapt under the new court model is foundational for effective implementation of these justice processes.


Problem-solving courts are a “quiet revolution” in the criminal justice system ( Berman & Feinblatt, 2005 ). Using a therapeutic jurisprudence framework, problem-solving courts strive to create a collaborative courtroom environment where offender rehabilitation is the primary goal in decision-making ( Berman & Feinblatt, 2001 , 2005 ; Boldt, 2002 ; Butts, 2001 ; Feinblatt & Denckla, 2001 ; Goldkamp, 2000 ; Orr et al., 2009 ; Rottman & Casey, 1999 ; Wolff, 2002 ). While many scholars discuss problem-solving courts as judge-led initiatives (see for example Miller & Johnson, 2009 ), we focus on how courtroom workgroup actors adapt to their roles in a problem-solving court setting. During court sessions, judges are the focal actors of the courtroom workgroup. They interact directly with participants and bear responsibility for decisions. Backstage, in day-to-day interactions with problem-solving court participants and in pre-court team meetings, probation officers (POs) take the lead. POs spend more time interacting with participants than any other courtroom workgroup actor and prepare weekly reports on each court participant. Based on their superior knowledge base and informational role, POs wield significant power behind the scenes in problem-solving courts. Yet, judges often overshadow POs and receive popular and scholarly attention within the problem-solving court movement.

Based on 350 hours of ethnographic fieldwork in five federal problem-solving courts in the United States, we examine the role of judges in problem-solving courts. In this paper, we first discuss the judges' roles in problem-solving courts. Next, we present a discussion of Goffman's front-stage, backstage framework while highlighting how previous scholars apply dramaturgy in criminal justice environments. We then discuss the methods and setting of our study before presenting our findings. We conclude with a discussion of study implications for the problem-solving court movement.

Judges in Problem-Solving Courts

In the traditional adversarial U.S. criminal justice system, the judges' role includes listening to the evidence and providing a ruling based upon the facts presented. Judges have an obligation as neutral arbitrators, impartial to the hearing (see for example the American Bar Association's Model Code of Judicial Conduct ). However, therapeutic jurisprudence frames problem-solving courts and these courts embrace a non-adversarial approach to justice where all team members work collaboratively to eliminate issues, such as drug use, that are related to offending behaviors. Therapeutic jurisprudence changes judges' roles from neutral or passive to one where they are important rehabilitation components for offenders ( Freiberg, 2011 ; Rottman & Casey, 1999 ; Hora & Stalcup, 2007 ; Winick & Wexler, 2001 ; Winick, 2001 ).

When providing an overview of problem solving courts, Berman and Feinblatt (2001) note these specialized courts rely on the use of active judicial authority to solve problems and change defendant behaviors. A key component of problem-solving courts is that they are generally judge-run programs in which a trial court judge uses previous court experience to creatively resolve legal conflicts ( Miller & Johnson, 2009 ). For instance, judges in problem-solving courts stay involved in cases even after the adjudication process to closely supervise offender performance in treatment programming. Therefore, the judge acts as both supervisor and case manager charged with coordinating supervision and treatment services in order to promote rehabilitation and a reduction in recidivism. Miller and Johnson (2009) further clarify the role of judges in problem solving courts noting, “The judge is the courtroom leader who assumes responsibility for determining which social and personal problems will be addressed within the court and thus made public” (p. 79).

In other research on problem solving court judges, Nolan (2001) suggests that judges act as advocates participating in the process by recruiting external resources, providing organizational support, lobbying, coordinating, fund-raising, or talking to the media. The role of a problem-solving court judge is no longer a passive role in the traditional sense. Instead, the drug court judge is the main actor in the program. As such, judges are generally more informal in this court setting than in a traditional court setting ( Nolan, 2001 ). Despite the judges' key role, however, Nolan (2001) acknowledges the judge is not the only central role in a problem-solving court setting. In line with the therapeutic jurisprudence model, all members of the team play a key role in improving offender outcomes.

Similar to the present study, Shomade (2010) also explores the role of the judge in problem-solving courts by examining data collected from a mixed method case study of state-level drug courts in the southwest United States. Based on interviews and survey data, he provides a different view of the judge's role in problem solving courts. Specifically, he states that during team meetings, the judge acts as a collaborator who shares equal say in decisions regarding offender punishment with other members of the courtroom workgroup. In these settings, judges facilitate the meetings by freely interacting verbally with offenders, encouraging them to reach success benchmarks, and sanctioning them when they fail drug tests.

In addition to being an advocate for improved offender outcomes, there is also some evidence that the judge's role in problem-solving courts can have both positive and negative effects on therapeutic outcomes. Rottman (2000) argues that problem-solving courts allow judges the ability to become more sensitive to developing individual and systemic responses to address offender issues when a court's caseload consists of a large proportion of similar cases. Furthermore, skill development among professionals operating within the therapeutic jurisprudence framework may be faster because of a common focus and collegial support among judges involved in a problem-solving court. Working in problem-solving court environments allows legal professionals to become better communicators with court participants and thus better able to assist participants with their rehabilitative goals. Yet, there may also be some negative effects on therapeutic outcomes associated with judge's roles in problem-solving courts. Rottman (2000) suggests that judges may become overly dependent upon treatment experts in specialized courts. He argues this shift in authority may be inconsistent with traditional understandings of legal procedures. Problems may also arise from problem-solving courts becoming too dependent upon a particular judge, creating problems when systems reassign judges to different courts. Lastly, judges involved in problem-solving courts often face more stress because of increased involvement, creating problems with burnout and fewer career advancement opportunities ( Rottman, 2000 ).

The shifting role of judges in problem-solving courts also raises ethical concerns worth discussing. Some research suggests that the collaborative nature of problem-solving court decision-making may undermine public perception of judicial independence and impartiality ( National Drug Court Institute, 2002 ). This idea largely emanates from the notion problem-solving court judges are advocates rather than impartial decision-makers. Since the therapeutic jurisprudence model incorporates a non-adversarial team approach to treatment, direct contact between judges and participants may create vulnerability as defense attorneys are supposed to share the responsibility of protecting the participants' rights with the judge who also makes sanctioning decisions. Therefore, the defense attorney faces a tough situation where s/he has to weigh the defendant's rights with the need to share information with the court team ( Reisig, 2002 ).

Despite its' challenges, Berman (2000) suggests that many judges initially and continually advocate for problem-solving courts in response to overcrowded dockets and prisons. Additionally, Boldt and Singer (2006) posit that judges endorse problem-solving courts as a response to recent sentencing guidelines that sought to reduce judicial discretion. They argue in problem-solving court settings, judges work to find the most appropriate solution for case circumstances. In this type of system, judges and court teams view adversarial procedures as inappropriate or inadequate to solving the issue at hand.

Problem Solving Courts in an International Context

While first introduced in the U.S., more recently drug courts have emerged throughout the United Kingdom (UK). As discussed by McIvor (2009), several countries within the UK have been using a drug court model to address offenders' substance use and drug problems. Perhaps the most progressive in this area, the Scottish government began developing a national drug court model in 1999. Evaluations of the Scottish drug court model suggest it is effective in reducing recidivism among participants who complete the program ( Eley Gallop, McIvor, Morgan & Yates, 2002 ; Hough, Clancy, McIvor, Barnsdale, Malloch, Eley & Yates, 2006 ; McIvor, 2004 ). Likewise, evaluations of the Scottish drug court system also find that drug courts are an effective tool that should continue within Scotland. However, these studies also stress the need to improve court retention rates as offenders who did not complete the drug court program are often reconvicted at a high rate ( McIvor et al., 2006 ).

In more recent years, the British government has also begun establishing a drug court program. As Bean (2002) points out, British adoption of the American drug court system is possible, but three drug court practices hinder adoption. These include 1) the loss of judicial oversight once the offender receives sentencing, 2) the therapeutic jurisprudence “team approach,” and 3) the use of multiple graduated sanctions and rewards. Despite these challenges, England and Wales in 2005 operated a pilot drug court with the hopes of establishing a clear plan for future implementation ( Matrix Knowledge Group, 2008 ). The findings from this pilot became the basis for several other drug courts implemented throughout Britain. Although this is still a relatively new development, preliminary studies of these drug courts illustrate positive effects on offender outcomes ( Home Office, 2011 ). Though the underlying legal system present differences, the problem-solving court models are strikingly similar in the US and UK systems.

Front-Stage and Backstage

As highlighted throughout literature on problem-solving courts and the roles various actors play, judges often fill a leadership role in both front- and backstage contexts ( Nolan, 2001 ). While acknowledging that a collaborative approach is necessary, court teams often consider the judge the ultimate decision maker with power to both organize and facilitate all court processes. In this way, Winick (2002) refers to the problem-solving court as a “therapeutic drama” (pp.1060) and Nolan (2001) refers to “therapeutic theater” (pp. 61-89) in which the judge plays a leading role in both the front-stage and backstage - directing the court session, coordinating the roles of the other actors while motivating and inspiring them to successfully fulfill those roles.

In the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman (1959) discusses a framework he calls dramaturgy, a sociological perspective of social interaction. Goffman (1959) argues that life is a stage and everyone is a performer acting out a role. Individuals act out multiple roles, which change depending on the intended audience. Social interactions take place in what Goffman (1959) refer to as the front- and backstage. The backstage is where actors prepare for their performance and act as their authentic self, often stepping out of character. Actors engage in this informal performance without worry that one will disrupt the script and without fear regarding the perception of one's character because backstage, others cannot see or judge the performance. The front-stage, on the other hand, is where the viewable performance occurs. Actors take on the behaviors, appearances and props necessary to fulfill their expected and presented role ( Goffman, 1959 ).

Several researchers apply Goffman's (1959) front-stage-backstage framework to criminal justice system settings. In the context of policing, prior scholarship examines the unique nature of policing, comparing the front- and backstage actions of police officers as street-level workers. Primarily, this research examines the culture of policing in which officers stage performances even when they are backstage and hidden from public scrutiny. Scholars argue this is due to the bureaucratic nature of policing, in that they must act in accordance with organizational norms even when they are technically backstage ( Cancino & Enriquez, 2004 ; Pogrebin & Poole, 1988 ; Waddington, 1999 ).

Other research applies Goffman's (1959) dramaturgical perspective quite differently, focusing instead on organizational factors within courts such as decision-making, restorative justice practices, specialty courts and organizational reform ( Bynum & Paternoster, 1984 ; Dignan et al., 2007 ; Miller & Johnson, 2009 ; Rose, Diamond & Baker, 2010 ; Thomas, Mike, Blakemore & Aylward, 1991 ). For example, Miller and Johnson (2009) use three years of observation data to describe front- and backstage within problem-solving courts. In their description, the backstage action is particularly important, as it is where courtroom workgroups (e.g. judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, probation officer and sometimes others) privately discuss participants' progress and setbacks as well as current procedures and strategies. While the actual court session is open to the public, only those actors involved in the problem-solving court are privy to backstage preparations for front-stage court sessions. Miller and Johnson discuss the backstage of the problem solving court as, “A new form of delivering criminal justice, anchored by the rule of law and by a PSC work group” (2009, p.173). They argue judges play a central role within problem-solving courts, maintaining power in both the back and front-stage performances, often leading both the court sessions and the behind the scenes conversations. Despite the judges' prominent role, these authors also note the importance of supporting actors, most notably the case managers and treatment providers.

Several prior studies also use the front-stage/backstage framework to examine decision-making within the criminal justice system ( Bynum & Paternoster, 1984 ; Rose et al., 2010 ). Rose and colleagues (2010) use Goffman's framework to look at juror decision-making. They refer to formal court proceedings that occur on the witness stand, judge's bench or attorney tables as the front-stage, and the “offstage” as the other more informal behaviors and interactions that occurring within the courtroom. These authors argue that few places exist within a courthouse where courtroom actors are backstage. As such, jury members are often privy to actions and behaviors that they should not see. As part of a videotaping project supported by the Arizona Supreme Court, Rose and colleagues (2010) focused primarily on the information jurors discuss in deliberation to make formal decisions. Results suggest deliberations commonly used offstage observations, but jurors relied mostly on information presented during the formal, front-stage proceedings to make final decisions regarding the court case.

Bynum and Paternoster (1984) also examined decision-making within the criminal justice system, arguing that racial discrimination is most prevalent in the backstage. Looking at sentencing and parole decisions in a state with indeterminate sentencing, they found that during the sentencing process, which takes place front-stage, Native Americans and non-Native Americans were treated equally. However, when examining parole decisions which take place backstage, Native Americans were less likely to be paroled than their non-Native American counterparts. These findings support the idea that racial discrimination is not likely seen in visible, front-stage regions of the criminal justice system, but are more likely to play a role in hidden, backstage decision-making processes.

In addition to decision making processes in court settings, scholars have also explored restorative justice settings in light of Goffman's (1959) framework. Some argue that such practices are a criminal justice process that requires staging similar to a performance ( Dignan et al., 2007 ). This research highlights the complexity of the performance by criminal justice actors in the front-stage, as they often fulfill multiple roles to represent the offender, victim and community simultaneously, as well as in the backstage, where measures must ensure that the front-stage performance aligns with the goals of restorative justice: fairness, inclusiveness and equality.

In the case of misalignment between the front- and backstage, criminal justice procedures, which may be unseen and thus questionable, may need to be altered to align with front-stage norms of accountability ( Thomas, Mika, Blakemore & Aylward, 1991 ). Thomas and colleagues used ethnographic data from prison disciplinary hearings to illustrate the inconsistency between formal rules and enacting performances. Hidden from public examination, new laws must protect prisoners from injustices that may occur behind prison walls, such as abuse. These authors argue that legal mandates barely make a dent in changing prisons as staff members can “make do” by developing strategies that maintain power relations as opposed to modifying them. Thus, actors in the prison system can rework rules that supplement rather than subvert prison staff power to secure a preferred social order. This suggests that formal methods of control in the front-stage will not necessarily weaken the control power of staff in the backstage.

It is common, and often expected, for front-stage performances to differ from what occurs backstage due to the complex processes associated with legal performances. This is heightened in the typically adversarial US criminal justice system, where there are multiple and sometimes competing, goals present. As Miller and Johnson (2009) highlight, the participating court actors are crucial to performances within problem-solving courts. Utilizing this dramaturgical framework, we argue that judges are front-stage stars within problem-solving courts, but are also supporting producers backstage.

Settings and Methods

This paper grows out of larger study that examines the implementation of one evidence-based practice, Contingency Management (CM) (using operant conditioning to reward positive behaviors) within problem-solving courts 1 . An evidence-based practice is a technique identified by rigorous and solid research that improves outcomes at the participant level ( Taxman & Belenko, 2011 ). While the initial study design involves a program and process evaluation of probation and federal problem-solving courts during CM implementation, this paper emerged out of an inductive, grounded-theory ( Charmaz, 1995 ) approach to qualitative data analysis. As such, our research question: How do courtroom workgroup actors adapt to their roles in problem-solving courts? grew from the data itself, rather than as a pre-data collection or pre-analysis research hypothesis.

At the project's start, we conducted site visits with teams in five problem-solving courts within three federal districts over sixteen months between 2009 and 2010, totaling 350 hours of fieldwork. Each district in our study has a minimum of four agencies involved in its court workgroup, including prosecutors, public defenders, POs (supervision side rather than pre-trial) and judges 2 . Table One presents the five courts included in the analysis for this paper. Three of the courts operate as traditional drug courts, and two operate as reentry courts. Participating courts come from geographically diverse settings, representing regions from across the nation, in three federal districts in three circuits. Two of the courts involve treatment providers in team meetings and decision-making. All five courts involve judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and POs.

Glossary of Terms : AUSA: Assistant United States Attorney (prosecutor), FPD: Federal Public Defender, PO: Probation Officer

The problem-solving courts in this project are less than five years old and are representative of other problem-solving courts at the federal level. A federal judge who operates a criminal docket in addition to his or her work on the drug court bench leads each problem-solving court. The problem-solving courts share a similar structure where participants navigate through various court phases as their good behavior earns them fewer courtroom visits and edges them closer to court graduation. In the first phase of each court, participants appear before the court team once a week at the problem-solving court session. Depending on the number of participants present (ranging from eight to eighteen during our observations), court sessions generally last about sixty minutes. They occur weekly, with all participants attending at least one session a month and some attending more often, depending on their current phase in the program. Each program decreased the frequency of court appearances for participants as they progressed. During court sessions, participants sit in the jury box while the judge or PO calls each up in turn. Talk between the judge and participants dominate courtroom interactions with other team members speaking minimally. Each court team also meets pre-court to discuss participants' cases. In these meetings, the court workgroup shares key information and the team finalizes their decisions regarding participants, barring some unforeseen court occurrence. The courts are open to the public, but observers are infrequent.

Observation and Interview Methods

Qualitative data collection for this project includes direct, non-participant observation of problem-solving courts and their affiliated organizational actors, in-depth, semi-structured interviews and analysis of organizational documents (e.g. memos, emails, etc.). The use of multiple methodologies triangulates the data sources, offering greater depth and reliability in the results ( Lofland et al., 2006 ; Morrill, 1995 ; Snow & Anderson, 1993 ). We were unable to tape-record conversations, as federal courts prohibit recording devices. However, we did take notes of observations. We were careful not to let our note taking disrupt the scene or interfere with the flow of action/rapport. Thus, we completed most formal note taking upon exiting the field daily.

We conducted semi-structured (thematically focused) interviews with all members of each problem-solving court team (5 teams, n=38 players in three districts combined). Interview themes include: 1) understandings of problem-solving court processes; 2) recollections of past experiences with problem-solving court teams; 3) ideas regarding problem-solving court goals; 4) ideas regarding the role of each problem-solving court actor in the court process, and 5) stories about daily activities including routine and typical events, as they related to the problem-solving court. We spent roughly three to six hours each observation day with court team members (e.g. judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, POs and treatment providers). We interviewed and observed every individual in this study separately (in a private office or automobile), among co-workers or supervisors, and within a courtroom work team setting (pre-court meetings and court appearances). The informal interviews did not last a set amount of time, rather they continued throughout the entire time we were in the field each day.

Coding and Analysis

Using Atlas.ti (a qualitative software program) for coding and data analysis, we linked fieldnote data and began coding after roughly one-third of data collection was completed. Using a grounded theory approach to data analysis ( Glaser & Straus, 1967 ; Bryant & Charmaz, 2007 ) that begins with inductive logic, we first engaged in systematic, line-by-line coding that considers broad and emergent themes ( Charmaz, 1995 ). This entails reading each line of fieldnotes and coding individual words or phrases in-vivo (using the language of the research subject) whenever possible. Interacting with the data in this way allows theory extension and building to occur naturally throughout analysis. Next, we re-coded each set of fieldnotes using a refined componential data analysis whereby we coded data using more focused codes using taxonomic analysis as a path to data synthesis. This involves coding larger chunks of data (e.g. sentences, paragraphs, pages) for behavioral and/or attitudinal processes and patterns to discover how our subjects experience and define their working environment. During this phase of analysis, we wrote numerous analytic memos incorporating raw, descriptive data with initial and subsequent analytic interpretations. Suggested by Emerson (2001) and Charmaz (1995) , this intense, multi-phased approach is a highly respected form of qualitative data analysis. Finally, we used the coded data to inform the writing of this paper. Although many other themes emerged in coding, this paper focuses on the adaptations of judges' roles in the problem-solving court model. In our coding and analysis, we observed no significant differences between types of courts or districts. As such, we present the data collectively below, focusing on the roles of courtroom workgroup members.

While problem-solving courts are often discussed as judge-centered and judge-led initiatives, we found problem-solving court leadership shifted depending on the situation and task. Backstage, in pre-court meetings and during day-to-day interactions with court participants, POs were often the lead courtroom workgroup actor (Rudes & Portillo, forthcoming). They had the most interaction with participants and presented weekly reports and recommendations regarding participants to the courtroom workgroup. During backstage pre-court sessions, court workgroups regularly engaged in deliberate discussions in preparation for the “theater” or performance of the front-stage court session. In the backstage environment, court members recognized the central role of the judge during the court session and supported the preparations of the judge to interact with participants during the court session. Armed with data and information about participants' progress, judges acted as front-stage stars during the public courtroom sessions. In this setting, judges interacted directly with participants and assumed the expected role of the public face of the courtroom workgroup.

While judges' front-stage presentation is consistent with past research on problem-solving courts (see for example, Miller & Johnson, 2009 ), we find the backstage leadership and roles of the courtroom workgroup are more nuanced than previously discussed. Below we present our findings, first discussing the backstage interactions among the courtroom workgroup. We then focus on how the courtroom workgroup prepares for the performative aspects of the front-stage courtroom. Finally, we discuss the role of judges in the front-stage courtroom arena.

Backstage: Information Sharing and Shifting Lead Roles

We observed pre-court sessions where the entire courtroom workgroup team reviewed updates for the expected participants in that day's court session. Pre-court sessions typically took place an hour before the day's court session and involved judges, prosecutors, public defenders and POs. Treatment providers were present in two out of the five courts and participated via conference call in one additional court. While the judge convened pre-court sessions and began discussions, the workgroup deferred to POs and treatment providers as experts during these interactions.

In each court we observed, POs prepared weekly progress reports on each participant. The reports differ in style in each court, but all provide information on drug testing, employment, treatment session attendance and PO meeting attendance. POs regularly present a shortened version of the report in both written and verbal form. As part of the report POs detail their interactions with participants in the intervening time between the current and the prior court session. Treatment providers often follow up on POs' reports detailing their sessions with the participant and noting progress or regression in treatment sessions. Each report also provides a recommendation for each participant attending the court session that day. Judges recognize that the POs lead the pre-court meeting through the work that they put into each report. One judge commented:

“I'm the guy behind the curtain like in the Wizard of Oz . Everyone thinks I'm in charge, but I'm really not doing anything back there. Matt 3 [the PO for the court] is the real boss. This will succeed or fail on Matt's shoulders.” He said that Matt is the real expert and he is the one that is going to have to run the thing. They need a judge to make it look good and to be the big guy for the participants and he is willing to do that, but really this is Matt's show.

Judges often put a lot of weight into what POs present in the pre-court sessions. In one pre-court session a judge adopted his recommendation directly from the PO's reports nine out of ten times. In another session, the team adopted the PO's recommendations in fourteen out of fifteen cases. We did not observe a pre-court meeting where the judge disagreed with the PO in more than one case. The PO's recommendations often included expectations for participants and suggestions for needed services. The judge and the rest of the team often adopted PO's recommendations regarding increases or decreases in frequency of court attendance, drug or behavioral treatment options, and employment expectations, with little discussion.

Other courtroom workgroup members acknowledged the central role of the PO in the pre-court sessions as well. One Assistant US Attorney noted:

The PO pretty much does all the work for these cases. The PO provides the team with amazing information about the participants each week.” She went on to say that they rely on that information. She noted that the judge is extremely busy with a role in the court that demands his time and attention. The Federal Public Defender has a role in defending and representing every participant in the court weekly but the AUSA role is limited. She says she likes to hear the talk about each participant in the pre-court meetings but rarely contributes because she does not feel she has much to say. She is not afraid to contribute, just that the other members of the team know the participants better and seem to realize that if there is a sanction to be implemented that includes custody then the AUSA is important. Otherwise, her role is representative of her office.

The judges discussed their shifting views of the courtroom workgroup team based on their participation in problem-solving courts. One drug court judge mentioned that the entire experience had been educational for her:

She said she never had direct contact with treatment providers and POs. She has a lot more respect for what POs do after the drug court experience. She also has had a major education in treatment. She never realized how influential treatment is for participant's success until she had the treatment providers in the courtroom every week.

An additional judge discussed the centrality of treatment for decision-making in his court as well. Noting,

The team relies on feedback from the treatment providers to know when participants are ready to move between phases of the court. They will not move someone to the next phase, and reduce their frequency in court, before the treatment provider says they are making progress and ready.

In most of the courts we observed, the entire courtroom workgroup team – judge, prosecutor, public defender and PO – contributed to decision-making regarding which defendants would participate in the court. The POs, however, were the initial gatekeepers, identifying which participants the court should consider for participation in their program. They prepared histories on each participant they identified within their caseloads and offices, and made the initial recommendation to the court for participation in the problem-solving court. At the end of one pre-court meeting the judge referenced this asking whether there were any new participants to consider for the court:

The POs responded that they had the word out to their fellow officers, but they hadn't sent them anyone new yet. The judge said that they needed to, “drum up some business for the court.

When discussing their role in the pre-court sessions one PO noted that the judges and other courtroom workgroup actors typically listen to them because, “they trust us.” The POs present the information to the court for initial participation in the problem-solving court and provide weekly updates with each participant's progress. The judges typically defer to the judgment of POs and treatment providers during these court sessions. The judge convenes the sessions and ultimately the outcomes of decisions in the sessions to the participants, but the POs typically lead the pre-court sessions.

Preparing for the Performance: Focusing on the Performative Aspects of the Session

Throughout our observations of problem-solving courts' pre-court and courtroom sessions, it became clear that the courtroom workgroup recognizes the performative, front-stage nature of the courtroom sessions. POs and treatment providers would often cue the judges to mention certain things about the participants in the open court sessions.

As the PO in one pre-court session was providing details on his weekly reports he asked the judge to ask one participant about their job interview. He said that while the participant did not get the job, it was an important step, and it would be good for the judge to recognize it in front of the other participants.

POs and treatment providers would often highlight something good that happened during their interactions with participants that they wanted the judge to point out in a public way during the week's sessions. Since POs and treatment providers had the most interaction with participants, they were often the ones to notice and highlight positive behavior for the rest of the courtroom workgroup. They remarked that highlighting positive behavior provided encouragement to other participants to behave in similar ways so they too would gain recognition.

The courtroom workgroup actors also discussed how negative decisions would play out in front of the participants during courtroom sessions. The following fieldnote excerpt comes from another pre-court session:

The second participant was one with a lot of history in the program. The team decided he needed to spend a weekend in jail. The whole group discussed the need for a scene with this participant. They decided to have the marshal come to court to take the participant into custody. Typically participants will surrender themselves after court, but the group felt that this participant needed the extra theatrics. They also said that it was something the other participants hadn't seen in a while, it was good to have the marshals come to court every once and while. There was general chatter around the group about the participant and the participant's need to take the program and his treatment seriously.

The discussion of theatrics was not unique to a single court. In another district during a pre-court session the courtroom workgroup discussed the arrest of a participant during the court session saying:

Typically if offenders are given a sanction of jail time they will go turn themselves in after court. But, occasionally the team makes “theater” out of the sanction and will have the marshal come up to the courtroom and arrest the person on the spot. The “theater” gives all of the participants a little scare. The last time they had “theater” in the courtroom was about 3 months ago, but they would likely have it again during the court session because they had a problem participant.

While the entire workgroup team discussed the performative aspects of the courtroom session backstage, they recognized the central role of the judge in the performance of the courtroom front-stage. In discussions about one formerly problematic participant who was being promoted to the next phase in the court, the group decided to promote the participant but insist that he continue to come to court weekly, rather than decreasing his court appearances to every other week as was typical of the new phase.

The Federal Public Defender jumped in and asked how they would explain that to the participant, he has not done anything wrong, so it isn't a sanction. She suggested that the judge explain that since he was doing really well coming so often, they wanted to continue to see him, but he was being promoted so that still meant less drug tests and less contact with the POs. The judge agreed to that explanation.

The entire group often worked off the PO's weekly reports to prepare for the front-stage action of the court proceedings. While POs, Federal Public Defenders, treatment providers and Assistant US Attorneys spoke freely and interacted on a largely level playing field in the pre-court sessions, once court began the judge took the central role -directly engaging with participants.

Front-stage: The Centrality of the Judge

During court sessions the judge took on the role of leader. She or he would initiate conversations with each participant and was typically the one who informed the participant of all incentives and sanctions. Fitting with the therapeutic jurisprudence model of problem-solving courts, judges would often interact with participants on a personal level, noting the details about their week that other courtroom workgroup members brought up in the pre-court sessions, or engaging with them regarding past conversations from earlier sessions. The following fieldnote describes the typical process of a problem-solving court session:

The judge calls each participant up and speaks with him in front of the group. He remembers something personal about participants and starts with small talk about their family or living situation. He focuses on positive change talk, but also focuses on the requirements of the court. The focus of each discussion seems to turn to a job or the financial situation of the participant. The judge emphasizes the requirement of community service if the participant is unemployed. One participant moves between phases and everyone claps as the judge hands him his certificate. The judge seems to take on a supportive and fatherly demeanor. Court moves pretty quickly, the judge speaks with all fifteen participants within an hour.

The process is judge-centered with the judge initiating the conversation with each participant. The judge engages with the participant personally and reinforces the structure of the court and requirements for participants.

Some judges noted that they learned their courtroom role over time. One judge discussed learning the importance of her role in court:

After their court had been up and running for a while, the judge said she went to a training where they discussed the importance of praise and sanctions coming directly from her. Prior to the training the courtroom workgroup members would often rotate who handed out candy bars and other little incentives to the participants who had done well that week. After the training the judge started handing the candy bars out from the bench and shaking the hand of each participant who had a good week. She said that she recognized it made a difference, the participants lit up when they came up to the bench to receive their candy bars.

Numerous courtroom workgroup members and judges remarked on the paternalistic nature of the courts. One judge commented:

He really views the program as a paternalistic program. He said that he really does act like a father figure to a lot of the participants and the formality of the process is a big part of that for him.

A public defender in one of the problem-solving courts discussed the paternalistic nature of these courts in negative tones, but noted that race made a difference in the court he was participating in.

He said that he really thinks it makes a difference that the judge is black. Even if he is conservative, he is not the “white father figure” that most of his participants are used to seeing in the courtroom.

The judge in most courts was discussed as a paternalistic white father figure, interacting with participants on a personal level, but from a place of cultural advantage. In this court the performance was seen as different, and presented by the public defender as more effective, because the judge culturally and physically resembled many participants in the court.

Some judges discussed the formality of their role in the courtroom. One judge discussed the differences he saw as a Magistrate in the federal system, rather than a District Judge. Magistrates do not have the formal power to sentence defendants in the federal system, where District Judges do. Magistrate judges operated the majority of the courts in our project. Some of these judges noted the importance of formality in their courtrooms.

The Magistrate Judge said, really he doesn't have any real power with the program, the offenders are there because they want to be [the program is voluntary] and they gave consent. Even if they agree to sanctions like going to jail that day he can only send them to jail for seven days throughout the whole program - and that is only by special arrangement [approved by the Chief District Judge in his District]. He said that he has observed a District Judge's court [in another District] and she can move strait from the meeting to a revocation hearing. He does not have the power to do that, if someone has to be revoked in his court he cannot handle the hearing and must actually stay out of the hearing process altogether so that it doesn't seem like he is interfering. He said that is why he relies on more formality in the program. Only the staff members are in the meetings and even in those meetings he wears his robe. He sits on the bench every time he interacts with the participants.

The judge above notes the importance of acting out the formality of the court with participants during the sessions as well as with the other courtroom workgroup members backstage in the pre-court meetings.

In all of the courts we observed, judges were the leaders facilitating the courtroom sessions. They, and other members of the courtroom workgroup, noted the paternalistic and performative nature of their interactions with participants. However, it was in the courtroom where the judge adhered to many of the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence and performed in ways that are consistent with previous scholarship on problem-solving courts.

Discussion and Conclusions

The problem-solving court model is proliferating across the US and Europe ( Butts, 2001 ; Bean, 2002 ). While the model is built on the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence and a non-adversarial collaborative approach to reforming criminal justice processes, it is often presented as a judge-led and judge-centered movement (see for example Miller & Johnson, 2009 ). Our work within federal problem-solving courts finds the problem-solving court movement and day-to-day operations of problem-solving courts are more nuanced than previous scholarship suggests. While judges are the public face of the court, leading the court in public sessions, other courtroom workgroup actors take on central roles outside the public courtroom environment. That is, backstage, in pre-court sessions and day-to-day interactions with problem-solving court participants, POs are often the central courtroom workgroup actors. POs spend the most time with problem-solving court participants and are charged with informing other courtroom workgroup actors about the participant's progress and recommending incentives or sanctions for participants. POs, at the federal level, are also the gatekeepers to the courts – recommending who should participate in these newly designed programs.

Problem-solving courts in the US and UK maintain similar designs with a comparative focus on collaborative decision-making framed by a therapeutic jurisprudence process ( Bean, 2002 ; Home Office, 2011 ; Rottman & Casey, 1999 ). Under this model the traditional detachment and neutrality of the judicial branch in the US system is replaced with a participatory adjudicator. While some scholars acknowledge potential problems with this model (NACDL, 2009) noting that the collaborative nature of decision-making in problem-solving courts may erode due process and other legal protections for participants, few have explored how the roles of courtroom actors actually shift under this new model.

Judges are traditionally trained to adjudicate the guilt or innocence of the defendants in front of them (ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct ). Under these new courts, judges are now perceived to lead a team focused on rehabilitative goals through collaborative processes (see for example Miller & Johnson, 2009 ; Rottman & Casey, 1999 ; Butts, 2001 ; Hora & Stalcup, 2001 ; Winick & Wexler, 2002 ). Guilt or innocence is no longer a question, but progress towards pro-social goals is. Judges increase their frequency of contact with participants in these courts, but still limit their contact to the courtroom. POs maintain their traditional supervisory roles, overseeing the participants' progress in drug treatment, employment training and pro-social skill development. The judge maintains the leadership role in the courtroom, but base their interactions and decisions off of information provided by other courtroom actors.

While the presentation of information in traditional cases takes place in the courtroom as part of the performative nature of criminal case decision-making, the presentation of information in problem-solving courts takes place behind closed doors in pre-court sessions. Participants no longer have a legally trained actor explaining the process of case resolution and presenting their individual desires to the court in the public defender. Instead, they now have a whole courtroom workgroup team dedicated to their progress in a rehabilitative process. The team shares information as a whole before they interact with the participant. Decisions are performed for the participant in the courtroom where the judge becomes the main point of contact for participants, rather than counsel dedicated to presenting their desires or a PO charged with supervising their post-release progress. While the problem-solving court movement presents the judge as the leader and key decision-maker, decisions are often made in pre-court sessions where POs and treatment providers are lead information contributors.

While the therapeutic jurisprudence literature praises the increasingly interactive role of the judge under the problem-solving court model (see for example Rottman & Casey, 1999 ; Winick & Wexler, 2001 ; Winick, 2002 ; Hora & Stalcup, 2007 ), there is little discussion in the academic literature on how judges prepare for their new role. Data from the current study reveal that judges and the rest of the problem-solving court team see their role through a dramaturgical lens. The courtroom workgroup actors often acknowledge the performative aspects of the courtroom process in problem-solving courts, and the judge's star role in the front-stage performances of the court. Our data demonstrate courtroom workgroup actors discuss how they should present themselves in front of participants and the importance of participants seeing how others are being rewarded or sanctioned for their actions.

Courtroom workgroup actors put the emphasis on the judge as the central actor in the courtroom. They discuss the symbolism of having a father-like figure expressing interest in the progress of participants and presenting the decisions of the collective workgroup. But, there has been little scholarship on how the shifting roles of courtroom workgroup actors under the problem-solving court model play out in front-stage and backstage contexts. The data presented here are only the first step in understanding the shifting roles and front-stage and backstage dynamics of this burgeoning criminal justice reform. Our findings may be limited in their generalizability due to the data collection being focused on federal level in US courts, where problem-solving courts have only recently been introduced. At the federal level, POs may take on a more central role backstage because of increased contact with participants and extensive training in rehabilitative supervision processes. But, understanding how roles and leadership in problem-solving courts shift in front-stage and backstage contexts is key for understanding the implementation of this newly instituted reform.

1 This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (U01-DA016213-07-A). The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions of the federal staff from NIDA, the JSTEPS research team, members of the JSTEPS project teams in the five federal U.S. districts, and the graduate student researchers within the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) at George Mason University who assisted with data collection for this project.

1 Courts were selected for the larger research project based on their willingness to consider the implementation of contingency management in their problem-solving courts. Two of the three districts already had established problem-solving courts at the start of the study. The courts had been running from 1 to 5 years. One district was just establishing their problem-solving court at the start of our project. We were able to observe the planning and first year of the court’s implementation as part of the project.

2 Although seemingly similar in the US, problem-solving courts at the federal and state levels are different. Considerable differences in resources, sanctions, internal coordination and support engender these dissimilar environments. First, unlike state courts where resources for training and treatment/programs are scarce, federal problem-solving courts possess seemingly unlimited resources with advanced technical training for workgroup members. Armed with the science of evidence-based practices and garnering the power of information, federal POs assigned to problem-solving courts operate on an equal playing field with other workgroup actors. Federal problem-solving courts also hold numerous contracts with treatment facilities with no shortage of services. At the state level, treatment for participants is infamously scant. Second, state problem-solving courts navigate state criminal laws and interpret these laws in various ways, making comparison between them difficult. At the federal level, all problem-solving courts adhere to federal laws, presenting a unique opportunity for cross-site comparison. Third, state problem-solving courts generally hire court coordinators for scheduling and various administrative services. In federal courts, Pos regularly act as coordinators, giving them increased access to backstage court activity. Finally, federal courts do not operate with the same broad endorsements as state courts. They are often organized and run without official approval from the U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts.

3 Throughout our findings we use pseudonyms for study participants to protect their anonymity.

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What are the 7 Steps to Problem-Solving? & Its Examples

What are the 7 Steps to Problem-Solving & Its Examples (2)-compressed

7 Steps to Problem-Solving

7 Steps to Problem-Solving is a systematic process that involves analyzing a situation, generating possible solutions, and implementing the best course of action. While different problem-solving models exist, a common approach often involves the following seven steps:

Define the Problem:

  • Clearly articulate and understand the nature of the problem. Define the issue, its scope, and its impact on individuals or the organization.

Gather Information:

  • Collect relevant data and information related to the problem. This may involve research, observation, interviews, or any other method to gain a comprehensive understanding.

Generate Possible Solutions:

  • Brainstorm and generate a variety of potential solutions to the problem. Encourage creativity and consider different perspectives during this phase.

Evaluate Options:

  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of each potential solution. Consider the feasibility, potential risks, and the likely outcomes associated with each option.

Make a Decision:

  • Based on the evaluation, choose the most suitable solution. This decision should align with the goals and values of the individual or organization facing the problem.

Implement the Solution:

  • Put the chosen solution into action. Develop an implementation plan, allocate resources, and carry out the necessary steps to address the problem effectively.

Evaluate the Results:

  • Assess the outcomes of the implemented solution. Did it solve the problem as intended? What can be learned from the process? Use this information to refine future problem-solving efforts.

It’s important to note that these steps are not always linear and may involve iteration. Problem-solving is often an ongoing process, and feedback from the implementation and evaluation stages may lead to adjustments in the chosen solution or the identification of new issues that need to be addressed.

Problem-Solving Example in Education

  • Certainly: Let’s consider a problem-solving example in the context of education.
  • Problem: Declining Student Engagement in Mathematics Classes


A high school has noticed a decline in student engagement and performance in mathematics classes over the past few years. Students seem disinterested, and there is a noticeable decrease in test scores. The traditional teaching methods are not effectively capturing students’ attention, and there’s a need for innovative solutions to rekindle interest in mathematics.

Steps in Problem-Solving

Identify the problem:.

  • Clearly define the issue: declining student engagement and performance in mathematics classes.
  • Gather data on student performance, attendance, and feedback from teachers and students.

Root Cause Analysis

  • Conduct surveys, interviews, and classroom observations to identify the root causes of disengagement.
  • Identify potential factors such as teaching methods, curriculum relevance, or lack of real-world applications.

Brainstorm Solutions

  • Organize a team of educators, administrators, and even students to brainstorm creative solutions.
  • Consider integrating technology, real-world applications, project-based learning, or other interactive teaching methods.

Evaluate and Prioritize Solutions

  • Evaluate each solution based on feasibility, cost, and potential impact.
  • Prioritize solutions that are likely to address the root causes and have a positive impact on student engagement.

Implement the Chosen Solution

  • Develop an action plan for implementing the chosen solution.
  • Provide training and resources for teachers to adapt to new teaching methods or technologies.

Monitor and Evaluate

  • Continuously monitor the implementation of the solution.
  • Collect feedback from teachers and students to assess the effectiveness of the changes.

Adjust as Needed

  • Be willing to make adjustments based on ongoing feedback and data analysis.
  • Fine-tune the solution to address any unforeseen challenges or issues.

Example Solution

  • Introduce a project-based learning approach in mathematics classes, where students work on real-world problems that require mathematical skills.
  • Incorporate technology, such as educational apps or interactive simulations, to make learning more engaging.
  • Provide professional development for teachers to enhance their skills in implementing these new teaching methods.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Increased student engagement and interest in mathematics.
  • Improvement in test scores and overall academic performance.
  • Positive feedback from both teachers and students.

Final Words

This problem-solving approach in education involves a systematic process of identifying, analyzing, and addressing issues to enhance the learning experience for students.

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