PROBLEM SOLVING -
Guidelines to Investigating a Sustainability lissue
(ISSUES TO ACTION)

1. IDENTIFY AND DEFINE THE PROBLEM:
(e.g. Feeding deer on the WRELC property; Paper use by students using photo-copiers in the UMD library.)
Make a concise statement identifying what the problem is (or what the potential may be).
(e.g. Feeding deer on the WRELC property attracts deer to the WRELC feeders. This apears to provide an unnatural food source. The potential is to increase the deer population. The potential problem is a negative impact to the WRELC grounds by overbrowsing of deer. In addition, it raises an ethical question of deer feeding for wildlife viewing at a nature center.)

2. FORMULATE A PRIMARY RESEARCH QUESTION.
(e.g. "What is the effect of feeding deer on the forest understory?"; "What is the impact of printing single-sided vs double sided paper in the UMD library?")

3. STATE QUESTIONS TO GUIDE DATA (information) COLLECTION
What do we need to find out to assess if this is an actual problem? If so, to what extent is it a problem?
What are our methods going to be to collect information about this problem?

4. DESCRIBE THE METHODS THAT YOU INTEND TO USE TO COLLECT YOUR INFORMATION (DATA) BEFORE YOU BEGIN TO COLLECT IT.

5. COLLECT AND APPRAISE DATA (IS IT VALID?)
Is there a problem?
What is the issue?
What is the extent of the issue? (Ecological; Social; Economic)

6. BRAINSTORM SOLUTIONS : Discuss possible solutions based on what the information you have gathered tells you.

7. SELECT CRITERIA TO EVALUATE SOLUTIONS (Having support - science; economics; & sociological - as a basis for your ideas)

8. SELECT THE MOST VIABLE SOLUTIONS (What are the impacts if nothing is done? What are the impacts if something is done?)

9. CHOOSE THE BEST SOLUTION (Make a concrete recommendation)
Included in your recommendation, you are to explain how your recommendation is sustainable from two perspectives:
a. Management (How will this recommendation be managed in a sustainable manner?)
b. Education (How will this recommendation be taught using sustainability education?)

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10. ACT ON THAT SOLUTION (Provide an outline of steps to guide action - avoid the "all-or-nothing" approach)

11. EVALUATE THE RESULTS (Establish broad means to evaluate effects, including a general timeline).