Title page for ETD etd-07282006-195218

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Bhatkhande, Yogesh Dilip
Author's Email Address yogeshdb@vt.edu
URN etd-07282006-195218
Title Comparison of Traditional and Activity Theory Based analysis Methods for Verbal Protocol Data
Degree Master of Science
Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Smith-Jackson, Tonya L. Committee Chair
Kleiner, Brian M. Committee Member
Nussbaum, Maury A. Committee Member
  • Think Aloud Method
  • Critical Incidents
  • Activity Theory
Date of Defense 2006-05-22
Availability unrestricted
The think aloud method has been used in this research to generate data that

reveals the thoughts of participants of a study while they are performing tasks. The

pioneers of this method, Simon and Ericsson, have provided a method to analyze the

data so as to obtain meaningful results. However, this analysis method is complicated

and time consuming. Most researchers use some form of categorization to perform their

analysis. Critical incidents were used to categorize the data gathered in the tests

conducted as part of this research. This research proposed the use of tenets of Activity

Theory while performing data analysis so that the cultural and environmental aspects

that influence task performance are identified and addressed as part of the analysis. A

data analysis template was created that directs the analyst to follow activity theory while

performing the analysis. Sample data was gathered using the Think Aloud Method. The

results obtained after analyzing this data using the proposed Activity Theory Based

method were compared with those obtained when the same data was analyzed using a

representative traditional method of analysis. The research included positive critical

incidents, negative critical incidents and level of severity of negative critical incidents as

the dependent measures. No significant differences were found between the two

methods based on these dependent measures. Task type had a significant effect on the

number of positive and negative critical incidents identified.

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