How We Work
The methods and techniques we use come from the study of cognitive work in high-consequence, high-tempo domains. Primarily, these are qualitative research methods and include:
- cognitive work analysis (CWA)
- cognitive task analysis (CTA)
- process tracing
These methods and techniques were developed to characterize complex work domains with deep technical structures and high-risk boundaries. The methods draw on carefully-developed techniques for the study of real work and tested in aviation, nuclear power, medicine, and military systems.
In many cases, these methods are used to reconstruct what people do and say during an incident and also during the after-incident reviews. The approach also uses other data collections, (previous post-incident reports, logged and known follow-up tasks, “runbooks,” code and/or architecture documentation, chat or audio/video transcripts, etc. as probes during our interviews.
These data are used to triangulate accounts and perspectives. The results are used to draw conclusions about knowledge, perspectives, confidence, assessments, etc.
For example, here is a diagram outlining how we use this approach in doing our Assessment projects:
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