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task analysis

1. the breakdown of a complex task into component tasks to identify the different skills needed to correctly complete the task. In education, for example, it entails the breakdown of a subject or field of study to identify the specific skills the student must possess in order to master it; in industrial and organizational settings, a job is broken down into the skills, knowledge, and specific operations required. See also job analysis.

2. in ergonomics, a method of evaluating a product or system in which researchers interview actual or target users in order to find out (a) what tasks are performed; (b) which of these are most frequently performed and which are most important; (c) how and in what sequence the tasks are performed; (d) what standards of performance apply; and (e) how different categories of user vary in their answers to the above. Although some scripted questions are asked, the interviews are otherwise unstructured, the better to reflect users’ actual experience. Compare cognitive walkthrough method; conversation analysis; heuristic.

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Psychology term of the day

May 25th 2024




1. the practice of taking committed action to achieve an end, particularly as it relates to a political or social goal. See also community action group; social action program.

2. in philosophy, the doctrine that any relationship between thought and reality is characterized by continuous activity on the part of the mind, rather than passive receptivity. —activist adj., n.