Critical Incident Technique

Introduction   –   KfH Impact Tools   –  What and for whom?   –   Definitions   –   Methods   –   Tools  –   References

The critical incident technique can be used as the basis of a questionnaire or interview and has been extensively used in health library impact studies.

The technique requires users to provide details of a specific instance or use and then answer questions relating to this particular instance.  In this way the library can collect details of specific rather than general impacts.

For example it has been used to collect data on how information from a literature search was used….

We recently sent you information on the use of honey for preventing infection post surgery.  Can I ask how you have used this information?

The information could be provided in a descriptive manner – or you could use specific outcome measures, for example

Did you use the information for

a) use with a particular patient?

b) service planning?

c) developing clinical guidelines?

This approach is used for

  1.  The generic impact questionnaire
  2.  The impact of clinical librarians questionnaire

Further reading on the use of the Critical Incident Technique can be found in

Yeoman , A

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