Chances are this is a duplicate, but it's really hard to search for those things:

How do I say: "This is how I arrived at the solution" in one word? I've seen the word used before on Stackoverflow. Someone answered a question and then he followed up with an explanation on how he arrived at the solution. So his answer looked something like

Answer to the problem

Word I'm looking for

I arrived at the solution by first navigating to the File menu and then...

The word also has meanings along the lines of "Justification", "Proof of work", "Explanation". I guess "justification" comes closest to it, but that's a word I would rather use in a mathematical proof.

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    @YosefBaskin I thought methodology too, but when I looked up the definition it seemed to be more related to the parameters of working in a given academic discipline. Aug 3, 2017 at 21:23
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    Does it have to be one word? Aug 3, 2017 at 21:32
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    Maybe the word you're looking for is an exclamation, such as ‘Eureka’? Aug 3, 2017 at 23:15
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    If you're looking for something short, you could use "QED", which is a well-established abbreviation for Latin "Quad Erat Demonstratum", or in English "Thus is has been demonstrated", and is used at the end of a block of logic to state that with that logic you have proved what you originally set out to prove.
    – Simba
    Aug 4, 2017 at 11:59
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    How about "Thought process"?
    – littleO
    Aug 5, 2017 at 1:28

5 Answers 5


You could go with rationale:

Definition of rationale

1 : an explanation of controlling principles of opinion, belief, practice, or phenomena

2 : an underlying reason

  • Along these lines, "approach" might work.
    – Graham
    Aug 5, 2017 at 14:56

Personally, I would use:


the drawing of inferences or conclusions through the use of reason.

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    "Reasoning" comes incredibly close to it, but in my opinion it's not entirely suited for situations in which I want to answer a question with something along the lines of: "If you press Ctrl+V, you can paste any text you have previously copied. <This is how I solved your problem>: I read the manual for the program, and on page 56, I found the keyboard shortcut you were looking for!". Doesn't "reasoning" sound a bit odd in this context? Though that may also be because English is not my native language. Aug 3, 2017 at 21:55
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    @PawkyPenguin Since you say "... how I arrived at ...", I think that neither rationale nor justification really can be used to describe the process of obtaining the solution, but reasoning most certainly can. Rewriting your example a bit: "If you press Ctrl+V, you can paste any text you have previously copied. Reasoning: I read the manual, and on page 56, it says: blah blah". With rationale or justification, the last line would simply be: "Rationale: On page 56 of the manual, it says: blah blah."
    – muru
    Aug 4, 2017 at 4:42
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    @PawkyPenguin based on that context alone the word you're looking for is "source," but that doesn't really fit the definition in the question.
    – Ant P
    Aug 4, 2017 at 15:21

Method [meth-uh d] /noun

  1. a procedure, technique, or way of doing something, especially in accordance with a definite plan

Source: Dictionary.com

  • This is just my first thought. I don't think it is quite what you're looking for, but I figured it may be "in the ballpark". I will think on it a bit. Aug 3, 2017 at 21:21
  • This comes quite close to it indeed, but I think I'm looking for something less academic. Aug 3, 2017 at 21:32
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    Would "methodology" be better suited in this case? Method seems more like a recipe, whereas, "methodology", similar to "rationale" would demonstrate the step by step process of how it was done, and seems more justified... ? Aug 4, 2017 at 1:06
  • @Eliseod'Annunzio I thought of methodology too, but when I looked up the definition it seemed to be more related to the parameters of working in a given academic discipline. Aug 4, 2017 at 18:09

You might consider simply using the heading


1 a: a particular way of accomplishing something or of acting

2 a: a series of steps followed in a regular definite order

Procedure is commonly used as a sub-heading when writing a research paper. For instance, in the field of Psychology, by APA guidelines, the section called "Method" has the following sub-sections:

  • Participants
  • Materials
  • Apparatus
  • Procedure

For more on this kind of formal "procedure" writing, see the APA guidelines at Hamilton.edu

Procedure fits especially well with a portion of writing that explicitly goes through the steps required to accomplish something, as exemplified in your sample in the question:

...first navigating to the File menu and then... [etc.]

  • I like this answer the most because it has a correlation to a lab report. When you write a lab it contains; Brief, Hypothesis, Procedure, Results, Conclusion. In regards to the OP, the Brief would describe the problem, the proposed solution is the Hypothesis, the method to deduce the solution is the Procedure, the Results confirm the hypothesis in a test case, and the Conclusion summarizes the results. Aug 4, 2017 at 17:16


evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or the truth of a statement.

Source: Oxford

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