The tactical use of constraints and structure in diagnostic problem solving
This paper presents a prescriptive account of diagnostic problem solving, or diagnosis, in quality and process control. This paper identifies a general strategy, named branch-and-prune, whose manifestations can be found in disciplines such as medical diagnosis, troubleshooting of devices, and model-based diagnosis in artificial intelligence. The work aims to offer a clear conceptualization of this strategy, based on the notions of structures for the search space, and constraints to the cause's nature. The idea is to treat the search space of candidate explanations as a tree structure, in which general and high-level causal directions are branched into more specific and detailed explanations. Constraints eliminate all but a few branches (pruning), which are explored in more detail. We enumerate eight generic structures as a basis for branching the search tree. We demonstrate that our conceptualization in terms of structures and constraints gives a rationale for generally known methods and heuristics in quality engineering and operations management. The paper contributes a unifying conceptual understanding of a class of diagnostic techniques, and it improves the strategy's operationality by offering generic structures, and a simpler and more flexible account of its working. A description of a real-life quality problem solving effort forms a tangible basis for the discussion.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/375/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Wagner, C, 1993. "Problem solving and diagnosis," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 645-656, November.
- Mingers, John & Rosenhead, Jonathan, 2004. "Problem structuring methods in action," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 152(3), pages 530-554, February.
- Kenneth R. MacCrimmon & Christian Wagner, 1994. "Stimulating Ideas Through Creative Software," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(11), pages 1514-1532, November.
- Ackoff, Russell L. & Vergara, Elsa, 1981. "Creativity in problem solving and planning: a review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-13, May.
- Gerald F. Smith, 1988. "Towards a Heuristic Theory of Problem Structuring," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(12), pages 1489-1506, December.
- Paucar-Caceres, Alberto, 2010. "Mapping the changes in management science: A review of 'soft' OR/MS articles published in Omega (1973-2008)," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 46-56, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:39:y:2011:i:6:p:702-709. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.