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A cognitive task analysis (CTA) provides a means of capturing the way the mind works. This includes decisionmaking, reasoning, and how information is processed.
To better understand the otherwise unobserved aspects of a person in his or her work. This information can then be used to analyze and design workflows, and user interfaces, among other things.
1. DEFINE THE PROCESSES YOU WISH TO BETTER UNDERSTAND.
2. DETERMINE THE MEANS OF CAPTURING THE RELEVANT COGNITIVE TASKS. This can be accomplished by asking an individual to verbally convey their thoughts while being observed in their work (or shortly after accomplishing a task) or by interviewing them.
3. DEVELOP YOUR DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT. Identify the questions you wish to ask or what processes you wish to observe.
4. SCHEDULE THE INTERVIEW OR OBSERVATION.
5. COLLECT AND ANALYZE THE RESULTS.
Recognizes and allows for capture of processes that generally are not readily observable.
Can collect a significant amount of information during a relatively short period of time.
Some people have a difficult time conveying cognitive processes; coaching them may result in data collection biases.
May be time consuming.
Crandall B, Klein G, Hoffman RR. Working minds: a practitioner's guide to cognitive task analysis. London: The MIT Press; 2006.