University of Phoenix Material

Problem Solving

Using the five steps from Ch. 5 of Thinking Critically, create a plan for solving a problem you are currently facing. For the last step, identify how you will determine the effectiveness of your chosen solution.

Step 1: What is the problem? I need to buy a car, but I am having trouble saving money due to other responsibilities. Step 2: What are the alternatives? One of the biggest boundaries is that I am helping my sister financially, and trying to keep her and my nephew in their apartment. My alternatives would be to discontinue helping her, which keeps that money in my pocket, or to obtain a part time job to bring in more money and help alleviate the financial burden. Another alternative would be to hold off on the purchase, and wait until things get better and the time is right to purchase my car. Step 3: What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of each alternative? The advantage of not continuing to help my sister financially is that I can keep that money to myself, therefore saving it and putting it towards my car fund. The disadvantage would be that my sister would find herself in an even deeper issue, and wouldn’t be able to accomplish some of what she has been able to, thanks to the help. The advantage of taking on a part time job is that I’m earning more money, and potentially gaining experience that will help me in the future. The disadvantage is that I am already working at least 60 hours a week at my current job, along with attending school online, which requires time and dedication. Taking a part time job would take time away from my studies, and would cause my performance in my full time job and my grades to suffer. The advantage of not buying my car right now is that I could use the money I am saving towards that purchase to take care of my own finances and continue to assist my sister in hers. The disadvantage would be that I would have to continue to rely on public transportation to get around and take care of my day to day tasks, which depending on the time of day or the situation, can be an inconvenience. Step 4: What is the solution? My solution is to hold off on the purchase and continue to use that money to take care of myself and my sister. Although not having a car is a huge disadvantage, knowing that I can help my sister makes up for that in the biggest way. I am also very familiar with the public transportation system having relied on it for years, so I know how to get around and can adjust my schedule to accommodate it. I also have a few people that I can rely on to help me when I need it, which I am also very thankful for. Step 5: How well is the solution working? So far the solution has been working well in both of our favors. I still have a good grasp on my daily responsibilities while helping my sister, and she has been able to use the help to tend to her needs, and we are both making ends meet comfortably. It has also allowed me to keep the little bit of time I have to myself to focus on my studies.
Write a 100- to 150- word reflection about this process. How did this process help you devise a solution? How can you use this process with future problems? Will this work for all problems you face? Why or why not?

This homework assignment helped me apply these steps to real life situations, and better understand the process. The problem solving steps will not apply to every situation, as there are times where the answers are as simple as yes or no. Nevertheless, for those problems that are more complicated with multiple possibilities, we owe it to ourselves to take some time to weigh out each alternative, and how different solutions can affect not just ourselves, but anyone else involved. In the case of the problem I used, it helped me realize that my problem was not as big as I