Thinking hats and good men: structured techniques in a problem construction task

Vernon, D. and Hocking, I. (2014) Thinking hats and good men: structured techniques in a problem construction task. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 14. pp. 41-46. ISSN 1871-1871.

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Problem construction as a sub-component of problem finding is often one of the initial steps in problem solving and research has suggested that actively engaging in problem construction can lead to a more beneficial outcome and facilitate creativity. Here, we examine two techniques that may be used to help ‘scaffold’ problem construction ability: the six thinking hats and the six good men. These techniques can require the participant to either adopt multiple perspectives, incorporating a range of specific questions, or utilise a range of simple open ended questions. We had 100 participants take part in an on-line study that involved presenting them with a problem and requiring them to restate the problem in as many different ways as they could within a 3-min time frame. Participants were randomly allocated to groups comprising the six hats technique, the six men, or a no-intervention control group, and performance was measured in terms of the fluency, quality and originality of the responses. Results showed that both six hats and six men techniques produced greater fluency relative to controls, with a more robust effect for those using the six men. In terms of originality, both techniques proved beneficial relative to controls, with a more robust effect from those using the six hats. Hence, both techniques benefited performance, though in distinct ways. These results are discussed in terms of the potential benefits obtained by explicitly scaffolding thinking.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Six thinking hats; six good men; creativity; problem finding
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: Dr David Vernon
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2015 14:24
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2018 15:46

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00