Eye tracking for work-related visual search: a cognitive task analysis

Christopher M. Durugbo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is an important methodology in ergonomics for studying workplaces and work patterns. Using eye tracking as a CTA methodology, this article explores visual search patterns in complex work environments and situations. It presents a simulated crime scene case study that applies eye tracking-based experiments in foraging and sense-making loops to elicit and represent knowledge on expert versus novice search patterns for complex work. The case probes the visual search task of preliminarily evaluating and documenting potential crime scene evidence. The experimental protocol relies on the ASL Mobile Eye and the analyses of experimental data include preliminary inspections of live-viewing data on eye-movements, precedence matrices detailing scan paths, and gaze charts that illustrate participants’ attention based on fixation counts and durations. In line with the CTA methodology, the article uses concept maps to represent knowledge derived from different phases of the study. The article also discusses the research implications and methodologically reflects on the case study. Practitioner summary: This study offers valuable insights for work design. The use of eye tracking as a CTA methodology offers potentials for translating visual search tasks into defined visual search concepts for complex work environments and situations. The ability to model visual attention is valuable for work designs that improve complex work performance, reduce work stress, and promote work satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • cognitive task analysis
  • complex work
  • crime scenes
  • eye tracking
  • Visual search


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