Topics: Educational psychology, Problem solving, Causal factor tree analysis Pages: 8 (2253 words) Published: March 19, 2015

One needs to have good thinking and problem-solving skills in order to be a good problem solver. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines problem solving as “the process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution” whereas thinking skills is defined as “the mental processes that we apply when we seek to make sense of experience”. In problem solving and making decisions, there are several tools used. One of these tools is brainstorming, which is undeniably, a powerful and flexible tool in problem solving process. Another tool which is commonly used is gathering data and facts. Gathering and using the data will enable one to find good sources of information which is would then lead to better decision making.

This paper will discuss the Root Cause Analysis (RCA). This is one way to help find out why a particular problem occurred. CA is used to find out the origin of the problem using a set of steps aided by certain tools. Once the main cause of a problem is identified, it would be fairly east to determine the causes of the problem and what steps to be taken on order to curb the problem from happening again.

RCA uses the principle that “systems and events are interrelated”. The effects of a problem can be traced back to the origin of the problem that lead to the chain of events. There are three basic types of causes, namely; physical causes, human causes and organizational causes. Physical causes concern the “tangible, material items that failed in certain ways”; human causes concern the mistake made by an individual that does not work out accordingly; and Organisational causes concern the weaknesses in a system that contribute to the error in decision-making process.

There are five steps in the RCA process. Firstly, the problem is defined. Secondly, relevant data is collected using certain tool; thirdly, a possible causal factor is identified. Fourthly, the root cause(s) is/are identified; and lastly, solutions are recommended and implemented to prevent such occurrence from happening again.


The first step in RCA method is defining the problem. When we define the problem, we could observe what is happening at the same time look for specific symptoms. Oxford dictionary defined truancy as “the action of staying away from school without good reason” (2010). Truancy is a prevalent problem in many countries. Many school educators and administrators lament the fact that schools are slowly losing its appeal to most students. Students drop out of schools for many reasons: lack of financial support, parental negligence, poor monitoring system by schools, and peer pressure are among some of the reasons. Malaysia is no exception. More than 8,000 cases of truancy were reported in 2010 and 2011 although there were a decrease in number from 8,313 cases in 2010 to 8,266 in 2011, there were still unreported cases of students playing truant (The New Straits Times , March 29, 2012). Truancy is often linked with social issues (Ee, 2003). Students who play truant often find themselves in deep trouble with the law. They may get involved with people who are law offenders and criminals.

Secondly, collection of data is use to proved that the problem does exist and has had impact on those concerned. Report released by the Malaysian Education Ministry in 2013, revealed that out of the 108, 650 discipline problem cases, 18, 550 cases involves truancy. It constitutes 17% of the disciplinary problem. Truancy is reported as the main factor for disciplinary problems in Malaysia (Newsdaily, 2012). This is an evident that truancy is an existing problem in our country and the root cause of the problem needs to be addressed in order for a solution to be found.

Thirdly, identify the possible causal factor that lead to truancy. In this step, sequence of contributory events are examined that lead to the occurrence of the...

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Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. ( 2015 ) Oxford University Press: Oxford
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