Work Domain Analysis : Concepts, Guidelines, and Cases book cover
1st Edition

Work Domain Analysis
Concepts, Guidelines, and Cases

ISBN 9780805861297
Published May 7, 2013 by CRC Press
338 Pages 115 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In complex sociotechnical systems such as military, health care, and nuclear power systems, poor performance or errors resulting from inadequate designs can have catastrophic consequences. Although considered challenging to learn and execute well, work domain analysis can be used as a framework to assist in the design of these systems. Work Domain Analysis: Concepts, Guidelines, and Cases helps you develop a deep understanding of this framework—not by oversimplifying the principles but by explaining its concepts and methodology in considerable depth.

Building on the foundational concepts of cognitive work analysis by providing the first comprehensive treatment of work domain analysis, the book begins with fundamental topics such as abstraction, decomposition, and structural means-ends and part-whole relations, clearly outlining the basic characteristics of a work domain model. It then explores more advanced topics such as the development of multiple models of a system and the distinction between causal and intentional systems and illustrates them with numerous examples across a range of systems including warships, libraries, and petrochemical plants. It also provides comprehensive guidelines for performing work domain analysis.

The author provides three detailed case studies that examine the impact, unique contribution, and feasibility of applying work domain analysis in industrial settings. These case studies demonstrate that work domain analysis can be used to address a range of problems beyond interface design, such as team design, training, and the evaluation of system design concepts. They also provide concrete illustrations of the guidelines for work domain analysis.

Without an appreciation of the variety of applications of work domain analysis, and its suitability for implementation in industrial settings, the benefits of this approach may not be fully realized. This book supplies the deep knowledge of this tool that will lead both to more powerful and innovative applications of the approach and to designs that support flexibility or adaptation in the workplace, making systems safer, healthier, and more productive for workers.

Table of Contents

Section I Introduction

Cognitive Work Analysis
Work Analysis
What Is Cognitive Work Analysis?
Order of the Five Dimensions
What Is Unique about Cognitive Work Analysis?
Designing for Adaptation

Work Domain Analysis
What Is Work Domain Analysis?
Why Are Models of the Work Domain Useful?
The Abstraction–Decomposition Space
Causal versus Intentional Systems
Formats for Work Domain Models

Section II Concepts

Number, Types, and Labels of Levels of Abstraction
Descriptions of Levels of Abstraction

Number, Types, and Labels of Levels of Decomposition
What to Decompose?
Why Decompose?

Structural Means–Ends, Part–Whole, and Topological Relations
Types of Relations
Structural Means–Ends Relations
Part–Whole Relations
Topological Relations

Multiple Models
Multiple Stakeholders’ Perspectives
Multiple Problem Facets
Multiple Models and Decomposition

Activity: Whether or Not to Model?
Can Activity Be Included in a Work Domain Model?
Should Nouns or Verbs Be Used in a Work Domain Model?
Can Control Systems Be Included in a Work Domain Model?
Is There an Overlap between Work Domain Analysis and Control
Task Analysis?

Section III Guidelines

Analytic Themes for Work Domain Analysis
Theme 1: What Is the Purpose of the Analysis?
Theme 2: What Are the Project Restrictions?
Theme 3: What Are the Boundaries of the Analysis?
Theme 4: Is It Useful to Develop Multiple Models?
Theme 5: Where on the Causal–Intentional Continuum Does the Focus
System Fall?
Theme 6: What Are the Sources of Information for the Analysis?
Theme 7: What Is the Content of the Abstraction–Decomposition Space?
Theme 8: Is the Abstraction–Decomposition Space a Valid Model of the
Focus System?

Section IV Cases

Evaluation of Design Concepts
Case Study

Team Design
Case Study

Case Study


Section V Appendix
The Remaining Dimensions of Cognitive Work Analysis


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"... this eagerly awaited book from Neelam Naikar does not disappoint. It continues with the theme of her previous published material in adding valuable explanation of the works of Rasmussen and Vicente, along with insightful expansions. ... should be considered essential reading for anyone serious about applying cognitive work analysis for the first time, as well as an excellent resource for those more familiar with the technique to verify and validate their interpretations of cognitive work analysis."
--Daniel P. Jenkins, Research Lead, DCA Design International, Warwick, UK