OPTEMA[SM]  is a mnemonic device  created by John Rodgers for ordering seven key steps in solving problems:

O = observation. In particular, critical observations are those that (a) are based on ‘facts’ or phenomena judged to be close to factual and (b) are logically tied to critical problems.

P = problem.  In particular, critical problems are (a) based on critical observations and (b) are judged important or significant by the problem solver(s).

T = testable solutions (a) solve or answer the critical problem and (b) make at least one PREDICTION testable using some form of experiment (=controlled observation). Note that a Solution (=hypothesis; design; strategy) is NOT a prediction. The Predicion specifies what will be observed IF (1) the solution is “true” and (2) a certain set of operations are carried out.

E = experiment tests whether under defined conditions the PREDICTION is upheld or not. Experiments will be conducted using one or another set of methods.

M = material and methods are the operationally defined procedures by which a prediction may be assessed.

A = analysis.  This includes evaluation of whether the prediction(s) were upheld; whether the testable ideas were verified or falsified, whether the problem remains critical, whether there are caveats about the experiment or analysis, whether the results generate new critical observations.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Modes of Research « Spallanzani's Bats by John Rodgers

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