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Conclusions

The basics of technical problem solving—definition, research, analysis, resolution and synthesis, and implementation—are dynamic and demanding tasks. They require a commitment to understanding and willing participation in professionalism that most who seek meaningful work in their lives are willing to make. But if they are to work—if they are to be used successfully to solve problems—they require close attention to the process involved in using them.

It is not enough simply to define a problem. One then has to research the problem to find out the details of what has defined it. Once the details have been gathered, they have to be analyzed—looked at as discrete entities, then as parts of the whole to see how they fit into a larger picture. Then the whole process needs to be resolved and synthesized—to be bound up to decide ultimately what it might mean. And, if possible, a decision must be made as to how a solution will be implemented. At every stage, the need for redefinition, further research, and reanalysis may present itself. Solving problems is not a clean and linear activity; it is often messy and frustrating, doubling back on itself; but once honestly and conscientiously taken on, it can render great rewards. It is not merely honorific to say that any job has been well done. The ability to say that with conviction is the ultimate test.


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