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Articulating train drivers : a data collection toolkit for eliciting expertise

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Anjum NaweedAnjum Naweed, Ganesh BalakrishnanGanesh Balakrishnan
In Australia, the ageing train driver workforce has created a critical need to capture expertise. However, eliciting knowledge from train drivers can be difficult. Train drivers can find it difficult to explain what they do, and indeed, why they do it. This paper outlines a novel methodology applied in six rail organisations across Australia to elicit a specific element of train driving expertise associated with route knowledge, that is how they internalised the railway and how they used this to inform their strategies for rail navigation. A variety of methods from the interviews and observation families of knowledge elicitation were evaluated and converged into a phased approach, in order to develop a toolkit that could engender a good understanding of the domain, extract substantive knowledge, and triangulate findings. The approach incorporated a focus group followed by one-to-one interviews using the critical decision method. Both these processes incorporated visual arts-based methods comprised in the form of a graphic elicitation task. These were followed by a think-aloud protocol conducted in the actual train cab. These methods were converged to determine skills and knowledge based on expertise and experience, so that data could be readily translated into findings. This paper describes the methodology in some detail, paying particular attention to how non-academics and industry practitioners may apply the various components to pursue their own research.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


Parent Title

10th World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR2013), Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia, 25th-28th November 2013.

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Sydney, Australia


CRC for Rail Innovation

Place of Publication

Brisbane, Qld

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

World Congress on Railway Research