Welcome to the website for the Communication Analysis Tool (or ‘CAT’, for short). Here you can find further information on why we developed CAT, and how you can use it in your research, teaching, or consulting.
Feel free to browse through the information and videos below, and contact us if you have any questions.
We developed CAT for a field research project that aimed to examine how multi-professional teams diagnose rare diseases. All co-authors had been involved in field research projects focusing on team or dyadic communication (references for these projects are blinded for review purposes) and were keen to support methodological innovation in team dynamics research. In the early stages of the research project, we had the opportunity to observe team meetings of health care professionals when they discussed rare disease patients. It was unclear whether we were going to be able to video-record those meetings, hence, we were looking for a solution to collect time-stamped behavioral data in real-time.
The first author reviewed and tested various existing apps/tools that are available for behavioral analyses1 (e.g., „Behavior Tracker“; ABC Video Pro; BehaviorSnap and various others). The first author also had about seven years of experience working with one of the common commercial software solutions (i.e., INTERACT from Mangold International) within multiple research projects (Citation blinded for review) and had tested the commercial live coding app (Obanysis2) from this commercial supplier. After reviewing, testing and discussing these options amongst our team, we decided that none of the existing tools had sufficient flexibility for use in our intended context.
We had multiple goals for CAT. First, we wanted a tool that could be used for coding of both live observations and that could annotate video/audio-recorded data. This was important because we expected recordings to be impossible in the early stages of the project, but hoped they might be possible at a later stage. Second, the tool had to compatible with tablet, phone and laptop. Third, the tool had to provide some basic feedback functions (i.e., summary statistics of the meeting/session, Gantt charts the display participation over time). This was important for motivating the teams to allow us to be present. Fourth, the tool had to be free to use for research purposes. Fifth, the tool had to be sufficiently flexible to incorporate a variety of different coding schemes (i.e., varying number of codes, possibility to edit the names of codes/enter full code names and code descriptions instead of only letters; inclusion of rating scales). Furthermore, the tool had to allow researchers to adapt and change names of existing schemes. Sixth, the tool had to allow easy exchange for data (and templates for coding schemes) across labs internationally.
A first prototype of CAT was developed in May 2017. After a positive evaluation of this prototype, we further developed the software in iterative steps involving biweekly meetings over about 8 months involving the programmer and authors. Overall, the tool involved about 585 hours of IT development (i.e., about 15.5 weeks full-time work just for our programmer).
1 We used a list of behavior analysis apps provided by https://batechsig.com/2015/03/09/apps-for-behavior-analysts/
The following 40 min. lecture is a summary of a research paper that was published in Small Group Research.
Klonek, F.E., Meinecke, A., Hay, G., & Parker, S. (2020). Capturing team dynamics in the wild: The communication analysis tool. Small Group Research
In this video, you can see how we use CAT (Communication Analysis Tool) in an applied research context. From 1:10 to 1:50, you can see how CAT is implemented using a tablet device to annotate a stream of conversation between two participants in a research meeting.
Contact: Fabiola Gerpott
Contact: Wendy de Waal-Andrews
Contact: Melissa Twemlow
Contact: Sofia Schlamp
If you are interested in working with CAT, please contact us:
We currently provide CAT to two type of users: RESEARCHERS and CONSULTANTS. Please take a moment to describe your goal for using CAT. We will have a look at them and get back in touch with you.
Give us a brief overview of your research project.
The following questions might help you to describe your project. We do not expect you to have answers to all questions. Nonetheless, we believe that a reflection of these questions is helpful in using CAT and working with us.
1) User type: Would you describe yourself as a RESEARCHER (i.e., conducting systematic/academic research) or CONSULTANT (mainly working with industry-related projects, industry-based consulting)?
2) Motivation: How have you heard of CAT? Why do you want to use?
3) Research question /Project: What phenomenon do you want to study or observe? Do you have a specific research question? What is the goal of your project?
4) Context: In which context do you want to measure or observe this/these phenomenon/phenomena?
Who are your participants?
How many participants or events do you plan to measure?
Are you carrying out your study within an organisation or are you planning to collect your data in a lab?
5) Methodological approach: Are you planning to observe live or using video or audio-recordings?
Will you be working with external observers? If yes - how many?
Will your observations be unstructured (that is, open coding, taking notes) or structured (that is, are you using an existing (or adapted) observational measure)?
If you are working with an existing/adapted observational measure, please tell us which measure you are using (as we might help you to incorporate it into CAT).
Are you collecting other types of data (e.g., participant survey data, objective measures (sales, heart rate etc.)?
6) Ethics: Have you addressed participant consent for the observations? Have you or are you planning to obtain ethical approval from a human ethics committee for your study?
7) Data Management: Can you share the observational data that you are planning to collect with the developers of CAT? What type of data can you share and what type of data can you not share?
8) Outcome: How do you evaluate your outcomes? What outcomes are you trying to achieve?
In this video, we explain how you can create a user account, use an existing communication annotation tool, and create an automatic feedback report. The example here is to use CAT for a conversational style called Motivational Interviewing.
In this video, we explain how you can use an existing existing communication annotation tool to capture communication dynamics. The example used in CAT is the coding scheme act4teams (for more details on this measure see: Klonek et al., 2016; Meinecke & Lehmann-Willenbrock, 2015). Please note that this video is not about teaching you how to correctly assign codes from the act4teams coding scheme – but more broadly how to use an existing coding scheme within the CAT app.
Meinecke, A. L., & Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. (2015). Social dynamics at work: Meetings as a gateway. In J. A. Allen, N. Lehmann-Willenbrock, & S. G. Rogelberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of meeting science (pp. 325–356). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Klonek, F. E., Quera, V., Burba, M., & Kauffeld, S. (2016). Group interactions and time: Using sequential analysis to study group dynamics in project meetings. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 20(3), 209.
In this video, we explain how you can use CAT to segment a group discussion into speaker turns. The video recorded for this example is taken from AMI meeting corpus ©.
"Play data": Here you can download some small videos to play with the different functions in CAT.
If you use CAT (Communication Analysis Tool) for your research, please acknowledge that this tool was developed by researchers from the "Centre of Transformative Work Design". You can include one of the following references (depending on what is appropriate) in the reports, papers or publications for which you have used CAT during data collection.
Klonek, F.E., Meinecke, A., Hay, G., & Parker, S. (2020). Capturing team dynamics in the wild: The communication analysis tool. Small Group Research. Doi: 10.1177/1046496420904126
Klonek, F.E., Gerpott, F., Lehmann-Willenbrock, N., & Parker, S. (2019). Time to go wild: How to conceptualize and measure process dynamics in real teams with high resolution? Organizational Psychology Review. Advance online publication: 10.1177/2041386619886674
Centre for Transformative Work Design, University of Western Australia & Curtin University / Curtin University (2018). Communication Analysis Tool (CAT, Version 2.0, [update version]) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from https://cat.ctwd.com.au/
Klonek, F. E., Hay, G., Parker, S. (2018, April). The big data of social dynamics at work: A technology-based application. Academy of Management, Specialized Conference: Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy, Surrey, 18 – 20th of April 2018
Klonek, F. E., Gerpott, F. H., Parker, S. (2018, May). Introducing a process-focused measurement application to capture temporal dynamics of leader-follower ambidexterity. 3rd Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium, Creete, 10 – 12th of May 2018
Klonek, F. E., & Parker, S. (2018, August). Understanding the social and emergent dynamics of work design: An observational ecological assessment approach. In Parker, S. (Chair), New Perspectives in Work Design Symposium, presentation at the annual Academy of Management Conference 2018, Chicago, Illinois.
Updates: More academic publications are on its way!