Think-Aloud Protocol

Think-aloud protocol is a research strategy whereby participants speak whatever words come to mind as they complete a task, such as solving a problem or using a computer program. The task may be open ended, and it may be either of the participant's choosing or selected by the evaluator. Participants are expected to put a minimal effort into responding through the use of general prompts such as, “What are you thinking now?” or “Why did you do that?” This technique is used to identify participants' locus of attention, identify frustrations, understand language learning, and understand metacognition. The technique provides rich, direct data but is labor intensive and sometimes distracting for participants, and it may illustrate verbosity as much as it reveals thought processes.

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