Problem space & representation in reasoning

A quick, useful distinction when considering information seeking behavior is the place of problem space & representation in reasoning.

Problem representation is “the way in which the problem solver represents a problem based on what seem to be its crucial features” (Eysenck, p. 360), think of it as the box or frame into which one puts the problem.

Problem space is “an abstract description of all the possible states of affairs that can occur in a problem situation” (Eysenck, p. 36) and includes the starting, intermediate, and end states, as well as the “moves” that can be applied to a state to change it to another state.

Reasoning, writ large, is a way of solving problems that draws conclusions from evidence or principles (Cleveland & Robertson, 2009).

Eysenck, Michael W. (2006). Fundamentals of cognition. New York: Psychology Press.

Cleveland, A. & Robertson, M. (2009). Decision making and reasoning, (Powerpoint Presentation). University of North Texas. SLIS 5960 Cognitive Science for Information Professionals, Summer 2009.