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.
About the Authors
Beth Crandall is Senior Technical Director of the Klein Associates Division, Applied Research Associates.
Gary Klein is a Senior Scientist at Applied Research Associates. He is the author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions (1999) and the coauthor of Working Minds: A Practitioner’s Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis (2006), both published by the MIT Press.
Robert R. Hoffman is Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.
"Discovering the basis for expertise is a task fraught with difficulties, but Crandall, Klein, and Hoffman provide the practical guidance of experienced CTA practitioners. They uncover their mental models, critical cues, and strategies for organizing knowledge and adapting routines. This book collects the resources one needs to become expert at using new tools to support cognitive work."—David Woods, Institute for Ergonomics, Ohio State University
"Cognitive task analysis (CTA) is an immensely important approach to evaluating the development, implementation, and use of complex systems. Working Minds is a one-of-a-kind handbook in which highly qualified authors not only provide practical guidance for conducting CTA but also address fundamental cognitive issues that support the techniques. It will prove an extremely valuable resource for practitioners, scientists, systems engineers, and students interested in cognitive systems and workplace evaluation."—Vimla L. Patel, Director, Laboratory of Decision Making and Cognition, Columbia University