1. Use your experience: Consider the problem and try to make sense of it. Look for previous explanations. If this is a new problem to you, then move to step 2.
Problem: John has peed in areas that are not appropriate. He has peed on the kitchen tile, a concrete slab, the carpet and a plastic bag. This is not an issue of him peeing his pants or not making it to the toilet in time, it is purposeful.
2. Form a conjecture: When nothing else is yet known, try to state an explanation, to someone else, or to your notebook.
John likes to hear the sound of his urine hitting different surfaces.
3. Deduce a prediction from that explanation: If you assume 2 is true, what consequences follow?
Perhaps John will become a scientist when he grows up. If this might be true, then it will follow that he will hand me a ziplock baggy of pee and proudly tell me it's his. If he is just interested in pee, then he will still hand me a ziplock baggy full of urine and announce it is his.
4. Test : Look for the opposite of each consequence in order to disprove the hypothesis.