Food Technology Coursework Task Analysis Process

Assembling the data

The data for the Task analysis can be assembled from several places including business requirements, user research, existing competitive products and brainstorming.


Task decomposition

The aim of "high level task decomposition" is to decompose the high level tasks and break them down into their constituent subtasks and operations. This will show an overall structure of the main user tasks. At a lower level it may be desirable to show the task flows, decision processes and even screen layouts (see task flow analysis, below)

The process of task decomposition is best represented as a structure chart (similar to that used in Hierarchical task analysis). This shows the sequencing of activities by ordering them from left to right. In order to break down a task, the question should be asked "how is this task done?". If a sub-task is identified at a lower level, it is possible to build up the structure by asking "why is this done?". The task decomposition can be carried out using the following stages:

  1. Identify the task to be analysed.
  2. Break this down into between 4 and 8 subtasks. These subtasks should be specified in terms of objectives and, between them, should cover the whole area of interest.
  3. Draw the subtasks as a layered diagram ensuring that it is complete.
  4. Decide upon the level of detail into which to decompose. Making a conscious decision at this stage will ensure that all the subtask decompositions are treated consistently. It may be decided that the decomposition should continue until flows are more easily represented as a task flow diagram.
  5. Continue the decomposition process, ensuring that the decompositions and numbering are consistent. It is usually helpful to produce a written account as well as the decomposition diagram.
  6. Present the analysis to someone else who has not been involved in the decomposition but who knows the tasks well enough to check for consistency.

Task flow diagrams

Task flow analysis will document the details of specific tasks. It can include details of interactions between the user and the current system, or other individuals, and any problems related to them. Copies of screens from the current system may also be taken to provide details of interactive tasks. Task flows will not only show the specific details of current work processes but may also highlight areas where task processes are poorly understood, are carried out differently by different staff, or are inconsistent with the higher level task structure.


If the tasks are already well understood, it may be sufficient to just identify and document the tasks as part of context of use analysis.

According to Dan Saffer the task analysis can consist in a raw list of features that the final application will have to carry. (Saffer, Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices , 2006)

Examples of tasks broken down

Brushing teeth

  • Pick up the tooth brush
  • Wet the brush
  • Take the cap off the tube
  • Put paste on the brush
  • Brush the outside of the bottom row of teeth
  • Brush the outside of the top row of teeth
  • Brush the biting surface of the top row of teeth
  • Brush the biting surface of the bottom row of teeth
  • Try to make yourself understood while answering the question of someone outside the door
  • Brush the inside surface of the bottom row of teeth
  • Brush the inside surface of the top row of teeth
  • Spit
  • Rinse the brush
  • Replace the brush in the holder
  • Grasp cup
  • Fill cup with water
  • Rinse teeth with water
  • Spit
  • Replace cup in holder
  • Wipe mouth on sleeve
  • Screw cap back on tube

Borrow book from library

  • go to the library
  • find the required book
  • access library catalog
  • access the search screen
  • enter search criteria
  • identify required book
  • note location
  • go to correct shelf and retrieve book
  • take book to checkout counter


TaskArchitect is a tool that supports Hierarchical Task Analysis.

Key Stage 3

In KS3 students will be developing their knowledge of food, nutrition and the principles of the eatwell plate.  They will learn how to store, prepare and cook food safely and hygienically using a wide range of skills, processes and equipment.  They will learn to modify and adapt recipes to take into account of dietary requirements and to develop individual original work.

In Year 7:  Students will learn about the issues relating to safety and hygiene in Food.  The students will cook a range of dishes which will develop their confidence and ability in using kitchen equipment and technical skills.

In Year 8:  Students will learn about Food and Nutrition.  They will be looking at the dietary requirements / needs of individuals and learnt how to adapt recipes to cater for these needs.  The students will be producing a wide range of dishes that reflect these topics. 

In Year 9:  The year is divided so that the students rotate through the three subject areas of Food, Textiles and Resistant materials carrying out a short focused task before selecting their options and pursuing their favoured discipline for the remainder of the year.  In the first half of the year in Food students will carry out a series of practical technical challenges followed by a group ‘Show Stopper’ Cake.  In the Second half of the year students will learn how to cook a range of dishes in a ‘Great British Bake off’ style, which will allow them to apply their knowledge of nutrition. In addition, they will consider consumer issues, food and its functions and new technologies/trends in food.

Key Stage 4

At GCSE Level: Students will pursue 2 coursework tasks.  Each task which will provide the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, developing of ideas and making skills to produce 4 highly skilled dish outcomes and supporting unit of work.

Task 1 is worth 20% of the total GCSE grade is carried out in year 10.  It will take 10 hours of supervised time, of which 4 hours are to complete the practical outcomes.  The remainder of task 1 will consist of a maximum of 8 pages of A4, demonstrating research, planning and evaluation of the project.

Task 2 is worth 40% of the total GCSE grade, is started at the end of year 10 and carried through into year 11.  It is a 20 hour project of supervised time, of which 4 hours will be for the 4 dish outcomes and 3 hours are for the practical recipe trials. The rest of task 2 will consist of either an A4 / A3 written folder of a maximum of 16 A4 or 8 A3 pages of work.  Task 2 will demonstrate research, investigation, development of recipes trials, planning, production (the dishes) and evaluation.

Throughout both years, students will also cover 4 units of Food and Nutrition theory in preparation for the final GCSE exam which is worth 40% of the total grade.  These are:

        1. Nutrition, Diet and Health Throughout Life
        2. Factors Affecting Consumer Choice
        3. Nutritional, Physical, Chemical and Sensory Properties of Food in Storage, Preparation and Cooking
        4. Food hygiene and Safety

Click on the button below to access GCSE Food Technology Resources


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