Critical Incident Technique Guide

Last Revised: April 10, 2012


The critical incident technique is a procedure commonly used in group interview settings to collect reports of actual work behavior at various levels of effectiveness from job experts. The job information collected with the critical incident technique can be used for a variety of purposes, including the development of performance appraisal instruments and selection tools.

This guide will help you learn about and conduct the critical incident technique by providing:

  • General guidelines for organizing and facilitating critical incident sessions, as well as for analyzing the collected data.
  • Probes for session facilitators to stimulate participant recall.
  • Materials for participants, including instructions, writing tips, an example incident, and incident forms for recording critical incidents.

Reports of actual work experiences and situations can reveal important information about effective and ineffective work behaviors that are related to superior or inferior performance. A well-administered critical incident technique can help you uncover this information.

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