Analyzing Knowledge Requirements in Team Tasks

To date, there has been little or no research on which specific cognitive task analysis methods are useful for eliciting team members' knowledge about their team and its task. Most approaches to analyzing cognitive task requirements have focused on individuals as opposed to teams. Indeed, research is needed to determine methods that best identify the knowledge needed by team members, including a determination of how much of this knowledge must be shared by team members to maximize task performance. It may be that some knowledge needs to be shared, whereas other knowledge simply needs to be compatible. Further effort is needed to sort out this important issue and develop methods to assess the sharedness or overlap required in the knowledge of various team members.

Another issue that must be addressed is the manner in which the elicited information is represented. As is the case with CTA data at the individual level, there are several representational formats that might be useful as a means to describe knowledge elicited from a team CTA. For example, task-action hierarchies, concept maps, semantic nets, concept graphs, task network models, or simple lists or tables could e useful as means to represent team CTA data. At the team level, it might also be useful to employ communication or link analyses to describe the flow of information among team members, models of shared knowledge, or analyses of knowledge overlap among team members. These latter techniques have not received much attention in the literature, but are crucial if a true picture of team-level cognitive concepts is desired. In fact, the issue of how to cast individual- and team-level knowledge stemming from a team CTA is a central question that must be addressed if team-level CTAs are to be useful. this includes an understanding of what each team member needs to know to function effectively, as well as an understanding of what information must be dynamically shared among members. Research aimed at addressing this issue is clearly needed. 

Despite the gaps in research, a number of knowledge-elicitation methods available from research on individual CTA seem adaptable to a team environment. Some of these have been used in the team performance arena, whereas others have not. This section suggests potential methods for the different types of team knowledge described in the previous section: methods for eliciting pretask team knowledge and dynamic team knowledge. We list the type of team knowledge and discuss previous attempts (if any) to elicit this knowledge. We also suggest other methods that have potential to tap this knowledge. Although a detailed description of all potential methods is beyond the scope of this chapter, we have attempted to include a brief description of a variety of methods.