Gray and Kirschenbaum, 2000

Gray, W. D., & Kirschenbaum, S. S. (2000). Analyzing a novel expertise: An unmarked road. In J. M. C. Schraagen, S. F. Chipman, & V. L. Shalin (Eds.), Cognitive task analysis (275-290). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Analyzing a Novel Expertise: An Unmarked Road

From the Introduction

There are many varieties of task analysis-each with its advantages and disadvantages, each with its adherents and detractors (e.g. see the recent collections published by Annett & Stanton, 1998; Kirwan & Ainsworth, 1992). Most published descriptions focus on how to apply the technique or why it is a good technique to apply. Few accounts written by advocates of a technique are specifically directed at problems and pitfalls in applying the technique. This account is different. Although we are unabashedly enthusiastic advocates of the theory-driven combination of task analysis and protocol analysis that we employ, we hope that by identifying problems and obstacles that we encountered that more people will be better prepared and, therefore, more successful at applying these techniques.

Beware -- knowing that the road is narrow, winding, and unmarked does not make the trip easy. It might, however, discourage someone from setting out in the family sedan. For those who are better equipped, knowledge of the hazards ahead may help them avoid blindly plunging forward into a known problem. It is in this spirit that we write this chapter.

The following section provides a brief overview of the techniques we employ. It then introduces the known obstacles to these techniques. The main part of the chapter discusses these obstacles in the context of a specific project -- Project Nemo.

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