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Assessment of situational awareness

Situation awareness (SA) is the term that is used within human factors to describe the level of awareness that operators have of the situation that they are engaged in. It focuses on how operators develop and maintain a sufficient understanding of “what is going on” in order to achieve success in task performance.

Situation awareness is crucial factor in safety critical domains related to individual and team performance and a key consideration in system design and evaluation of command and control systems, training programs and procedures.

The level of situation awareness (SA) that systems and devices provide to individuals and teams is a critical factor that needs assessing throughout the design process. There are various methods available for assessing SA, yet there is little guidance available on which of these methods are the most valid, reliable and accurate.

It is suggested that when measuring SA, the characteristics of the task and the aims of the analysis should be considered in the selection of an appropriate SA measure. It may be worthwhile to use a selection of SA measures when assessing the construct in complex collaborative environments.

Cognition as a Network of Tasks (COGNET)

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COGNET is a framework for modelling human cognition and decision-making which provides an integrated representation of the knowledge (mental model), procedures, strategies and problem solving skills used in a domain or task situation, yielding the data for a cognitive engineering tool for the design of user interfaces. The goal of cognitive task analysis is to understand and represent the internal knowledge of experts in the domain of interest.

Goal-Directed Task Analysis (GDTA)

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GDTA is a cognitive task analysis technique developed by Mica Endsley that is concerned with the situation awareness requirements necessary to complete a task. It consists of structured interviews, observations of operators performing their tasks and detailed analysis of documentation on users’ tasks. A GDTA will reveal information needed by users to perform their tasks in complex decision making in environments such as air traffic control and how this information is integrated to address a particular decision.

Situation Awareness for SHAPE (SASHA)

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SASHA is part of the SHAPE questionnaires developed by EUROCONTROL. The questionnaire comprises 6 items which address three different aspects of SA ( information extraction, integration and anticipation) on 7-point Likert scales, from which a score is calculated.

Situation Awareness Global Assessment Technique (SAGAT)

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SAGAT is a query technique that was developed by Mica Endsley. It is based on a freeze on-line probe technique and is designed for real-time, human in the loop simulations. The simulation is frozen at randomly selected times and subjects are queried as to their perception of the situation at that instant. SAGAT queries are on specific data or data criteria corresponding to the three levels of SA (perception, comprehension and projection).

Situation awareness of en-route air traffic controllers in the context of automation (SALSA)

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SALSA is on-line probe SA measurement technique similar to the SAGAT approach but especially developed for air traffic control (ATC) applications. The SALSA technique is administered during simulations “freezes“ and a set of questions asked.

Situation Awareness Rating Technique (SART)

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SART is a post-trial subjective rating technique that was originally developed for the assessment of pilot SA. It uses ten dimensions to measure operator SA and participants are rating each dimension on a seven point rating scale.

Situation Awareness Verification and Analysis Tool (SAVANT)

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SAVANT was developed by the FAA and is a combination of two other query techniques, namely SAGAT and SPAM. It is specific to ATC context.

Situation Present Assessment Method (SPAM)

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SPAM focuses upon operator ability to locate information in the environment as an indicator of SA, rather than the recall of specific information regarding the current situation. The technique involves on-line probes to evaluate the operator SA. It measures the number of correct responses and the response latency to a question on the traffic situation as an indicator of SA.

Situational Awareness Linked Indicators Adapted to Novel Tasks (SALIANT)

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The purpose of SALIANT is to provide a theoretically-based method for assessing team situational awareness. The focus is on behavioural processes and indicators related to team situational awareness. This method results in a behavioural checklist that can be used to behaviourally assess situational awareness in teams.