Toward a Unified Theory of Problem Solving: Views from the Content Domains

By Mike U. Smith | Go to book overview

well do they meet the criteria outlined earlier?

The second direction for research that is clearly implied by these propositions is a more careful attention to the distinctions between expertise and success. Since no one can become an expert in all the domains in which he needs to adequately solve problems, what are the characteristics of good problem solvers who are no highly experienced professionals (experts)? A correlate of this issue is the nature of expertise. A recent study that compared genetic counselors and genetics faculty ( Smith, 1988) suggests that some of our understanding of expertise is perhaps applicable only to educators in the domain of interest. Similar studies of other noneducator experts should be conducted.

A third direction for future research is a greater emphasis on the issues of the development and teaching of problem-solving skills. The absence of propositions relating to these issues from the statements above is conspicuous.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This chapter is based in part on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. MDR 8609356.


REFERENCES

Bodner, G. M., Carter, C. S., & Bowen, C. ( 1988, April). Toward a unified theory of problem solving: A view from chemistry. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

Cassels, J. R.T., & Johnstone, A. H. ( 1984). "The effect of language on student performance on multiple choice tests in chemistry". Journal of Chemical Education, 61, 613- 615.

Chi, M. T.H., Feltovitch, P. J., & Glaser, R. ( 1981). "Categorization and representation of physics problems by experts and novices". Cognitive Science, 5. 121-152.

Davis, R. B. ( 1985). Solving the "three switch" problem: A case study. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 4. 281-291.

deGroot, A. D., ( 1965). Thought and choice in chess. The Hague: Mouton.

Falls, T. H., & Voss, B. ( 1985, April). The ability of high school chemistry students to solve computational problem requiring proportional reasoning as affected by item in-task variables. Paper presented at the meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, French Lick Springs, IN.

Gabel, D. L., & Sherwood, R. D. ( 1984). "Analyzing difficulties with mole-concept tasks by using familiar analog tasks". Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 21, 843- 851.

Hayes, J. ( 1980). The complete problem solver. Philadelphia: The Franklin Institute Press.

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