Determining Curriculum Content

Occupational Analysis

Occupational Analysis Defined

While it is true that an occupational analysis is a necessary resource for developing curriculum materials, its contribution to the process is most often misinterpreted and it's use misunderstood. Perhaps the best place to start in attempting to clarify this confusion is by defining the word descriptors assigned to this resource.

Analysis Defind

Webster's unabridged dictionary defines the term analysis as "a separating or breaking up of any whole into its parts so as to find out their nature." Webster has also stated that the term means "separation of anything, whether an object of the sense or of the intellect, into constituent parts of elements." Some of the more common synonyms for the word analysis are separation, resolution, dissection, reduction.

Analysis is a common procedure used in scientific investigation as well as other forms of study or inquiry. The following are examples of this from a wide range of fields/activities.

The Chemist analyzes substances or compounds to determine the amount and/or nature of the content of such compounds. The chemist is able to ascertain through scientific procedures, for example, what is contained in a sample of water that might be withdrawn from a drilled well. In addition they can determine the percentages of each of the elements or substances that are included in the water. The chemist makes a chemical analysis.

The farmer analyzes farm soil to determine the need for lime, phosphates or other beneficial compounds needed for the successful growing of food products. Like the chemist, the farmer is separating the soil into its component parts so as to study the amount and nature of these elements. The farmer makes a soil analysis.

The TV/radio repair person analyzes the component elements of a TV/radio set in order to determine the nature of the trouble that might exist within the unit. As a result, the repair person is able to repair or replace the defective part so that a set can be placed again in your home for continued to enjoyment. Before the service person can repair or replace an element within a TV/radio set, a unit analysis must be made.

A military leader analyzes a given situation to determine the proper course of action that troops must take. If it is a training problem, the commander gets complete information of the situation by analyzing the reports of support staff and lower commanders, by personal observation, test and inspection, and by other means. The commander must analyze

The military leader makes an estimate of the training situation or a military analysis.

The weather specialist analyzes atmospheric conditions to determine possible future weather conditions. This is done on a very scientific and analytical basis in order to provide a valuable service to farmers, ship navigators, airline pilots, the general public, and many other types of individuals whose work depends on weather conditions, either present or future. The weather specialist makes a weather analysis.

The guidance counselor. through skillful observation and discussion, helps individuals to analyze their own strengths and weaknesses for the purpose of assisting them in making choices or coming to given decisions. The counselor makes a personal analysis of human beings.

The analysis procedure then, is of importance to a variety of fields of study for the purpose of supplying information to specialists who subsequently need to make decisions about the "nature" of their work. While the analysis technique utilized in each example represents a constant, the scope and content of the analysis is qualified by a descriptive word unique to each field of study. The scope and content of a chemical analysis is different, for example, from the scope and content of a military analysis.

The analysis procedure in technical education may be qualified by any of the previous terms. Example, Webster's defines job analysis as, "the study of a specific job, as in industry, with respect to operations and hazards involved, qualifications required of the workers, etc." Job analysis however, tends to be too specific in terms of an overall description of what takes place in technical education. The word occupation qualifies the analysis technique to performances involved with earning a living without restricting the process to sub-classifications.

Occupational Analysis Defind

Once performance, whether it in a profession, calling,trade, caft, office, or business is usually measured in terms of specific behaviors, particularly in terms of knowledge gained, attitudes developed, and skills performed. It is also expected that these behaviors will be demonstrated at some level of acceptable performance. It follows that an occupational analysis be defined as a document that lists all the knowledge that one needs to possess, all of the attitudes that one needs to develop, and all of the skills that one needs to perform in order to function as a technician, paraprofessional in the occupation being analyzed.

A number of observations need to be made about this definition. First, the reader's attention is drawn to the use of the word all with respect to the scope of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes being addressed. Secondly, the reader's attention is drawn to the use of the word technician paraprofessional which established the level of performance required by the definition. Technician as defined by Webster is used here to mean "a worker who is skilled in a technical area, or a paraprofessional is one who assists the professional."

Lastly, occupational analysis technique produces a list of behaviors which is formulated into a document known as an occupational analysis associated with a specific occupational title. For example,An Occupational Analysis in Firefighting.

Uses for an occupational analysis

The use for occupational analysis are many and far-reaching. Although technical education teachers look to such analysis as devices to assist them in the selection of behaviors to be taught, occupational analysis and their by-products are also systematic methods indispensable for thoroughness and accuracy in personnel, industrial relations, labor utilization, and related activities. Important among these uses are:

The teacher can use such an occupational analysis to:

Sources of information for analyzing an occupation

The technical education teacher may turn to several sources of information for making a complete analysis of an occupation. Chief among these are:

When it is necessary to obtain analysis data directly from industry, it is well to follow a set routine.

The following summarizes the procedure for obtaining good job analysis data and maintaining desired relationships: