Think-Aloud Methods

Think-aloud methods ask participants to verbalize their thoughts while performing a task. Such methods provide a basis for investigating the mental processes underlying complex task performance and can provide rich data on such cognitive processes. Since the inception of scientific psychology, think-aloud methods have contributed substantially to the understanding of problem solving and learning. This entry first describes the history of think-aloud approaches and then discusses the protocol analysis. Last, this entry addresses some limitations of think-aloud methods.


Early pioneers of scientific psychology, such as William James, Wilheim Wundt, Alfred Binet, and Edward Titchener, used introspective reports of subjective experiences to provide insight into human consciousness, learning, and problem solving. However, the lack of reproducibility of findings from the analysis of introspective reports resulted in its ...

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