When problem solving, knowing the scientific method can come in handy.For problems plaguing a community (parking, pool hours, neighborhood fees, recycling bins), community members can apply the scientific method to develop solutions.
For example, the community member may say, "This community would be better served by a twice-weekly recycling schedule to accommodate the amount of recycled material." 4) Test hypothesis: The community member may then lobby the neighborhood to include an extra day of recycling; this process is an experiment.
5) Analyze results: The community member will then re-investigate the issue to determine if his or her hypothesis is supported in the experiment (adding another recycling day).
"Problem solving is part craft and part science, " Dhaliwal says, a type of "matching exercise.
" To get a sense of Dhaliwal’s approach, I once watched him solve a perplexing case.
Since recycling pick-up only happens on Mondays, the community member may...
Since recycling pick-up only happens on Mondays, the community member may ask: Do we need an additional recycling pick-up day to support the amount of recycled material in our community?
The scientific method beings with a question (perhaps stemming from an existing problem).
For example, a community member may notice the entire neighborhood has overflowing recycling bins on recycling pick-up day.
’s free newsletters."data-newsletterpromo-image="https://static.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/458BF87F-514B-44EE-B87F5D531772CF83_source.png"data-newsletterpromo-button-text="Sign Up"data-newsletterpromo-button-link="https:// origincode=2018_sciam_Article Promo_Newsletter Sign Up"name="article Body" itemprop="article Body"For Gurpreet Dhaliwal, just about every decision is a potential opportunity for effective problem solving. Should Dhaliwal write his research paper today or next week?
"We all do problem solving all day long," Dhaliwal told me.