Studies in Real-World Problem Solving with and without Computers.

by Harold Sackman, Frederick W. Blackwell


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Describes an investigation which compares problem solving with and without computers and investigates real-world problem solving. Forty-three subjects were used, each reporting two problems. The testing tool was a self-administered questionnaire incorporating a biographical profile of the problem-solver, descriptive problem characteristics, proposed stages of problem solving, and evaluative rating scales on problem solving containing approximately 400 items. Each subject served as his own control by reporting a computer and a non-computer problem essential for his job and requiring originality in approach and execution. Extensive exploratory multivariate analyses were performed on the data. Key results showed: (1) basic stages of problem solving similar for computer and non-computer problems, (2) computers led to increased specialization of problem solving roles, and (3) widespread dissatisfaction with inadequate "procrustean" software for real-world problems. Recommendations included further theoretical developments, "ideal" teams for man-computer problem solving, and improvements in computer system design and application. 119 pp. Ref.

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