Problem solving: a review of the importance of heuristics use, and an assesment of their usefulness

Salvador Algarabel, Carmen Dasi, Arcadio Gotor and Manuel Perea

A heuristics is a strategy, sometimes not very well structured, whose purpose is to help to find a problem solution. In the present paper, a group of mathematicians rated a set of heuristics rules for their usefulness in four fields: Geometry, differential calculus, algebra and statistics. The heuristics are structured in three groups: those associated with the analysis of the problem; those associated with the search for a solution, and those asociated to the checking of the solution. Results may be taken as a guide for the design of a training course in problem solving.