chapter  7
12 Pages

Problem into model: Transformation and communication

General statistical data, scientific theory, fears of the future, political pressures, many forms of information and types of belief may give rise to the statement of problems. Decisions will have to be made outside the framework of the scientific method before the scientific method can be applied to the problems highlighted by these means. Rational decisions have been defined as being concerned with the utilization of information in an optimum manner so as to ascertain which of the possible lines of action to deal with a problem is most likely to lead to a maximizing of some type of pay-off. At this stage somewhat different types of decision must be made and rather different problems solved. These problems are concerned with ways and means for 'getting into the model'. In 'getting into the model' the problems associated with the stating of objectives are central. From Social Ethic to Objective The scientific method cannot directly put forward criteria. At the beginning there exists only a general social ethic. The ethic is a reflection of the society in which we live, whether as scientist, administrator, or other citizen. The ethic, seen in relation to certain incidents or situations within the system, leads to the suggestion that something ought to be done to change specified situations or institutions, and the direction of the proposed changes is often phrased in terms of the perceived 'needs' of the people involved. At the point where 'needs' are discussed, theory and the ethic are closely related. The methods for problem-solving that are optimal cannot be isolated from the ethical considerations and the nature of the problems themselves.