General Problem Solver.
Everyone must have felt at least once in his or her life how wonderful it would be if we could solve a problem at hand preferably without much difficulty or even with some difficulties. Unfortunately the problem solving is an art at this point and there are no universal approaches one can take to solving problems. Basically one must explore possible avenues to a solution one by one until one comes across a right path to a solution. Thus generally speaking, there is guessing and hence an element of luck involved in problem-solving. However, in general, as one gains experience in solving problems, one develops one’s own techniques and strategies, though they are often intangible. Thus the guessing is not an arbitrary guessing but an educated one.
The following four phases can be identified in the process of solving problems:
- Understanding the problem.
- Making a plan of solution.
- Carrying out the plan.
- Looking back i.e. verifying.
In Means-End Analysis you try to reduce the difference between initial state and goal state by creating sub goals until a sub goal can be reached directly.
For example for a problem that can be solved by Means-End Analysis are the Towers of Hanoi Means-end analysis is important to solve everyday problems like getting the right train connection. You have to figure out where you catch the first train and where you want to arrive, first of all. Then you have to look for possible changes just in case you do not get a direct connection. Third, you have to figure out what are the best times of departure and arrival, on which platforms you leave and arrive and make it all fit together.