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Journal Article

The critical incident technique.

FLANAGAN JC. Psychological bulletin. 1954;51:327-58.

This review details the background of a methodology aimed to record specific behaviors, rather than opinions or estimates, in evaluating a given activity. The author describes the development of the "critical incident technique," the history of its evolution dating back to World War II, and its success in analyzing processes during those times. Further discussion outlines the steps involved in applying the technique and how this systematic process provides data that leads to effective solutions. Case examples are included to illustrate the mechanics of the technique, in the context of creating a foundation for such procedures in psychology. The technique has been adopted and applied to health care, specifically in studying anesthesia mishaps. Interested users can review a bibliography that chronicles its development and use as a research method.