A simple problem formulation framework to create the right solution to the right problem

Alaina Sauve-Ciencewicki, Kathryn P. Davis, Justin McDonald, Tharacad Ramanarayanan, Alan Raybould, Douglas C. Wolf, Ted Valenti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A systematic approach to formulate consistent, technically robust and scientifically tractable problems will facilitate achieving innovative and effective solutions in risk evaluation. The fundamentals of problem formulation have been adapted from environmental and human health risk assessments. A structured problem formulation enables focus on describing and evaluating the specifics of the problem to be solved, instead of immediately creating solutions. First the problem should be framed to provide clarity and gain agreement on the problem to be addressed, resulting in a specific problem statement. Second the problem is explored in order to transform it into an operational state through questions to answer, hypotheses to test, and represented by a conceptual model. Finally the approach to testing hypotheses is mapped and the analysis plan is developed to address the problem statement. This simple adaptable framework can be applied to any circumstance to resolve a specific problem and describe a path to resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalRegulatory toxicology and pharmacology
Early online date1 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • problem formulation
  • chemical
  • pesticide
  • solution


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