Critical incident technique

The technique can be used as the basis of a questionnaire or interview, and has been extensively used in KLS impact studies

Using the technique

Users provide details of a specific instance or use of a service 

They  then answer questions relating to the instance or use 

In this way KLS staff collect details of specific rather than general impacts 

Example of the technique  

It has been used to collect data on how information from a literature search was used. 

For example, “We recently sent you information on the use of honey for preventing infection post-surgery.  May I ask how you have used this information?”  

The information could be provided in a descriptive manner.  Alternatively you could use specific outcome measures, for example:  

Did you use the information for:  

a) a particular patient? 
b) service planning? 
c) developing clinical guidelines?  

Other uses of the technique  

This approach is used for  

Further information  

Critical incident technique and explicitation interviewing in studies of information behaviour. - Yeoman , A; Cooper , J; Armstrong , C; Fenton , R; Lonsdale , R; Spink , S ; Urquhart , C; Thomas , R; Barker , A; Light , A (2003).   Library and Information Science Research, 25(1): 63-88. 10.1016/S0740-8188(02)00166-4 

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021