What is a performance analysis? What is a task analysis? What is the difference?

Recap: last week we talked about the most common ADL assessment: informal observation of ADL tasks. This type of observation can be divided into two types: performance analysis and task analysis.

Some of us observe ADL task performance in order to analyze the level of physical effort, efficiency, safety, or independence the person demonstrates as he or she performs each goal-directed action or performance skill during the task performance.  In other words, OTs who implement this type of observation are focused on the quality of the task performance.  This type of observation is called a performance analysis.

Some of us observe ADL task performance in order to analyze and interpret what underlying body functions (e.g., perception, postural control, attention, problem-solving, etc.) are impacting the task performance.  We call this type of observation a task analysis.

Knowing the difference between these two levels of observation can help us OTs clearly articulate why we observe ADL task performance.  That type of clarity comes in handy when we communicate with our clients and colleagues about the unique and powerful contribution of occupational therapy…not to mention documentation.

Thanks for stopping by!

performance analysis of man shaving with electric razor
Performance analysis of woman cooking at stove
Performance analysis of woman cutting food

Want to read more?  Check out these references:

Fisher, A. G. (2009). Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model: A model for planning and implementing top-down, client-centered, and occupation-based interventions.

Fisher, A. G., & Griswold, L. A. (2014). Performance skills: Implementing performance analyses to evaluate quality of occupational performance. In B. A. B. Schell, G. Gillen, & M. E. Scaffa (eds.), Willard & Spackman’s occupational therapy (12th ed., pp. 249–264). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Fisher, A. G. & Jones, K. B. (2017). Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model. In J. Hinojosa, P. Kramer, & C. B. Royeen. Perspectives on human occupation: Theories underlying practice (2nd ed., pp. 237–286). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer|Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.