Cooperative problem solving in combinatorics: The inter-relations between control processes and sucessful solutions

Michal Mashiach Eizenberg, Orit Zaslavsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of the study reported in this paper was the examination of the effect of collaboration in solving combinatorial problems on the extent to which control processes are employed and on the correctness of the obtained solutions. The study was carried out with 14 undergraduate students, 8 of whom worked individually and 6 in pairs. The participants were given a series of 10 combinatorial problems to solve, one at a time. Data was collected through audio taped interviews with the participants as they were solving the problems, which enabled the researchers to keep track of the underlying processes involved in the participants' problem solving. Each solution was coded according to its degree of control and its correctness. The findings point to the interrelations between collaboration, control, and successful problem solving. More specifically, through some excerpts and descriptive measures we present evidence supporting the claim that the collaboration leads to higher degrees of control, which in turn leads to more correct solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-403
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Mathematical Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Combinatorics
  • Control processes
  • Cooperative problem solving
  • Metacognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Applied Mathematics

Cite this