Same or different? Generalising from novices to experts in military command and control studies

Guy H. Walker, Neville A. Stanton, Paul M. Salmon, Daniel P. Jenkins, Laura Rafferty, Darshna Ladva

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    A significant amount of empirical work in the field of military command and control uses participants drawn from non-military backgrounds. This study aims to provide a simple check on the assumption that the results gained from novice populations are transferable to real-life contexts. Two groups of 10 participants undertook an experimental command and control task. The first group was selected from a cohort of undergraduates with no task related experience and no domain knowledge (i.e. complete novices). The second group were military personnel who all possessed domain knowledge (i.e. experts) with some also possessing high levels of task related experience (i.e. 'super experts'). Comparisons between these three levels of expertise shows that military personnel are considerably more accurate than undergraduates, however, whilst there are 'absolute' differences in situational awareness and workload, there are still similarities in the 'pattern' of results gained regardless of expertise. Relevance to industry: The results of this study lead us to conclude that novices can be used to good effect in command and control studies, but for simple task measures such as speed and accuracy. Where a deeper understanding of the models underlying expert decision making are sought then experts are required. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)473-483
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


    • Command and control
    • Expertise
    • Situational awareness
    • Workload


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