The critical incident technique (CIT) is a systematic procedure for obtaining rich, qualitative information about significant incidents from observers with firsthand experience, which in turn helps researchers understand the critical requirements for individuals, processes or systems.

定义:The critical incident technique (CIT)是一种研究方法,其中要求研究参与者召回并描述影响的行为,动作或发生(正面或负面)指定结果(例如,完成给定任务的完成)。

The instance reported by the participant is known as an ‘incident’. In order for the incident to be critical, the participant must be confident that the event had a causal relationship with the outcome (which is the focus of the study). An example of a critical incident question is given below:

Please think of an Agile project that you worked on that was successful. Please describe a specific time when someone did something (or something happened) that positively contributed to the success of that project.

This method was formally introduced to the social sciences by John Flanagan, in a seminal paper published in the Psychological Bulletin in 1954. The technique was developed and finessed in numerous studies undertaken by Flanagan and fellow psychologists from the US Aviation Psychology Program during the second World War, and later by the American Institute for Research and the University of Pittsburgh. Since the publication of Flanagan’s paper, the CIT has become popular in the social sciences and has found applications in human–computer interaction research, because it facilitates the gathering of many detailed ‘incidents’ (behaviors or events). These are useful in understanding critical requirements for roles, systems, and processes. For example, the CIT has been used to highlight characteristics of successful personnel (such as leaders, nurses, doctors, air-traffic controllers), as well as critical requirements for processes (such as training programs and services) and interfaces.

在UX中,常常使用CIT用户访谈。但是,也可以使用调查问卷捕获关键事件,专门小组,或结构化日记研究。Flanagan believed that researchers carrying out ethnographic-style research could also document critical incidents, although little has been said on how this approach should be implemented.

使用临界事件技术与在用户面试中询问标准,示例样式问题略有不同。下表显示了一些问题,可以给员工使用企业工具了解他们的经验。与其他示例风格的问题进行了比较了一个关键的事件问题。

参与者被问到: 问题的类型
告诉我你在你工作中使用该工具的时间。 示例问题:the participant is asked to provide an example; there is no direction from the researcher as to what kind of example. The answer could be anything that happened to come to the participant’s mind.
告诉我你最后一次在你的工作中使用该工具。 具体示例问题:要求参与者描述最近的时间。这不一定是一个批判性事件,只是最近的。
Tell me about a particular time when you used the tool in your job where it helped you to be effective in your work. 关键事件问题:要求参与者想到一个特定的事件,这对完成任务至关重要。

通常,在一个关键的事件面试中,参与者在描述之前考虑每个事件的时间,因为召回通常需要时间。面试官还仔细纯粹的后续问题,意味着引发有关事件的足够的事实信息。面试可以看出这样的东西:

对于下一系列问题,我希望您专注于如何在工作中使用该工具。 采访者介绍了该研究的重点
  • What are some things you do with the tool?
  • How often do you use the tool?
  • 你什么时候使用该工具?

检查工具使用标准

Please think of, and tell me about, a particular time when you used the tool, and it made you effective in your work.

Critical incidents (positive)

  • What task were you doing at the time?
  • Why did you choose to use the tool?
  • In what way did the tool make you effective?
澄清问题
还有另一个时候可以想到你使用该工具的位置,它帮助你在你的工作中有效吗?

寻求进一步的事件

相反,请想一想,并告诉我,一个特定的时间,当你使用该工具时,它使您在您的工作中无效。 关键事件(负)
  • What task were you doing at the time?
  • Why did you choose to use the tool?
  • 以什么方式使您无效?

澄清问题

Is there another time you can think of where you used the tool, and it made you ineffective in your work?

寻求进一步的事件

一般来说,当研究人员寻求关键事件时,将参与者要求参与者对结果表现出积极和负面影响的事件。这些问题通常是分开的,如上面的示例访谈所示。但是,在某些情况下,研究人员可以同时询问积极或负面情况,并允许参与者选择哪些事件开始。当分开被问及时,首先要询问积极事件,以建设性地开始。

当在研究中使用临界事件技术时,每个参与者都可以贡献许多事件。通过许多访谈,可以获得数百个事件(有时成千积)编码。当代码饱和时(例如,每个代码都有许多事件),研究人员可以相信他们已经记录了研究对象的核心要求。在企业工具示例中,这些要求可能包括易于访问权限(用户需要快速查找和打开工具),响应性(工具需要快速响应 - 例如,自动保存不应慢慢向下缓慢)或非功能更新(更新不应中断工作中的用户)。

使用危急事件技术的优缺点

This method has some advantages, as well as some key disadvantages for usability research.

凡好

  • 快速揭示系统问题
  • 在长时间框架中捕获事件:只要他们记得,参与者就可以回去了。因此,事件可能跨越年份。这是对观察研究的优势,这通常是时间限制。
  • Captures information about rare or uncommon incidents:在观察其域中的用户时,关键事件并不总是见证,因为它们是罕见或罕见的。CIT可以发现这些事件可能。
  • 强调更重要的问题rather than less-important issues. Most other methods usually collect a preponderance of low-importance issues, simply because they tend to be more numerous. Of course, there’s no guarantee every reported critical incident is actually important, but significant events will likely be easier to recall than minor incidents.
  • 灵活:CIT可以应用于访谈,焦点小组和调查。

Cons

  • Relies on memory and pure recall:Memory is fallible, and so details can often be lost, or critical incidents can be forgotten. Recall is also challenging and even stressful for some participants, particularly in a face-to-face setting.
  • 不代表典型用法:通常,参与者召回极端事件,但在CIT访谈中很少提及小的可用性问题和典型的使用。

在决定是否使用批判性事件技术时,请考虑您的研究目标是什么以及该领域的可用性测试或观察是否会更适合实现它。如果在研究中使用关键事件技术,请确保您知道您想要了解哪些类型的事件。花点时间撰写面试脚本并试用它来检查您的问题是否不太规范,模糊或含糊不清。(轶事,研究人员发现,改变关键事件问题中使用的单词类型可以影响召回的事件类型,所以仔细思考如何not to lead participants)。最后,您将总是了解体育ople use existing interfaces and what their pain points are if you carry out observational research, such ascontextual inquiry要么可用性测试

概要

临界事件技术(CIT)是一种有用的方法,可以揭示人员,系统和流程的关键要求。使用CIT时,请确保您清楚您要学习的事件,准备采访脚本,并试用它。补充CIT访谈,焦点小组或调查具有观察性研究(如上下文查询和可用性测试),以准确了解系统,产品或服务的可用性。

Reference

弗拉纳曼,J.C.(1954)。临界事件技术。Psychological Bulletin,51(4),327-357。