Choosing which alternative out of those that have been identified represents the next step in problem solving. From the created list of possible alternatives, the one that most effectively and most efficiently solves the problem is generally considered to be the best solution, all other things being equal (Hopkin 2008). With a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for instance, one would probably choose to use a table knife to extract desired amounts of peanut butter and jelly from their jars rather than shaking them upside down until the contents fall out, as this latter method would be messier, more time consuming (especially for the peanut butter), and would not assist in the spreading of these substances on the bread in the way a knife would.
Actually implementing the chosen alternative is, naturally, the next step in the problem solving process. This step can be seen as “converting a decision into action,” or making the theoretical come about as practical and fully realized (DuBrin 2004).
In the example at hand, this step would include the actual opening of the jars, the removal of two slices of bread from the bag, the extraction and spreading of the peanut butter and jelly, and placing the two pieces of bread together (with the peanut butter and jelly trapped between the two slices, hopefully).
Finally, the implemented solution to the problem must be evaluated. In some situations, such as that of the example, the problem solving alternatives efficacy should be fairly easy to determine — if it tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and doesnt leave ones hands coated in goo, the plan was a success. Other situations are more complex, but the principles remain the same (DuBrin 2004).
DuBrin, a. (2004). Applying psychology: Individual and Organizational Effectiveness. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Hopkin, M. (2008). “Five stages of problem.