Working Minds

A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis

Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) helps researchers understand how cognitive skills and strategies make it possible for people to act effectively and get things done. CTA can yield information people need—employers faced with personnel issues, market researchers who want to understand the thought processes of consumers, trainers and others who design instructional systems, health care professionals who want to apply lessons learned from errors and accidents, systems analysts developing user specifications, and many other professionals. CTA can show what makes the workplace work—and what keeps it from working as well as it might.

Working Minds is a true handbook, offering a set of tools for doing CTA: methods for collecting data about cognitive processes and events, analyzing them, and communicating them effectively. It covers both the "why" and the "how" of CTA methods, providing examples, guidance, and stories from the authors' own experiences as CTA practitioners. Because effective use of CTA depends on some conceptual grounding in cognitive theory and research—on knowing what a cognitive perspective can offer—the book also offers an overview of current research on cognition.

The book provides detailed guidance for planning and carrying out CTA, with chapters on capturing knowledge and capturing the way people reason. It discusses studying cognition in real-world settings and the challenges of rapidly changing technology. And it describes key issues in applying CTA findings in a variety of fields. Working Minds makes the methodology of CTA accessible and the skills involved attainable.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Overview of Cognitive Task Analysis Methods
  5. 3. Preparation and Framing
  6. 4. Using Concept Maps for Knowledge Elicitation and Representation
  7. 5. Incident-Based CTA: Helping Practitioners ``Tell Stories''
  8. 6. CTA Methods and Experiment-Like Tasks
  9. 7. Analysis and Representation
  10. 8. Thinking About Cognition
  11. 9. Trends and Themes in the Development of Cognitive Task Analysis: The Rise of Modern Cognitive Psychology
  12. 10. Information Technology
  13. 11. The Role of Cognitive Requirements in System Development
  14. 12. Cognitive Training
  15. 13. Understanding How Consumers Make Decisions: Using Cognitive Task Analysis for Market Research
  16. 14. Cognitive Task Analysis for Measurement and Evaluation
  17. 15. Future Directions for Cognitive Task Analysis
  18. Appendix: Guidance for Data Collection
  19. Notes
  20. References
  21. Index