From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Checklist are commonly used in graphical user interface
Checklists are useful for applying methodology

A checklist is a type of informational job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task. A basic example is the "to do list." A more advanced checklist would be a schedule, which lays out tasks to be done according to time of day or other factors. A primary task in checklist is documentation of the task and auditing against the documentation.

Checklists are used in graphical user interfaces.


A pilot of a DC-10 consulting his checklist.
  • pre-flight checklists aid in aviation safety to ensure that critical items are not overlooked
  • use in medical practice to ensure that clinical practice guidelines are followed. An example is the Surgical Safety Checklist developed for the World Health Organization by Dr. Atul Gawande.[1] Evidence to support surgical checklists is tentative but limited.[2]
  • used in quality assurance of software engineering, to check process compliance, code standardization and error prevention, and others.
  • often used in industry in operations procedures.
  • used in civil litigation to deal with the complexity of discovery and motions practice. An example is the open-source litigation checklist.
  • used by some investors as a critical part of their investment process
  • can aid in mitigating claims of negligence in public liability claims by providing evidence of a risk management system being in place.
  • an ornithological checklist, a list of birds with standardized names that helps ornithologists communicate with the public without the use of scientific names in Latin.
  • a popular tool for tracking sports card collections. Randomly inserted in packs, checklist cards provide information on the contents of sports card set.
  • the creation of emergency survival kits
  • professional diving, preparation of equipment for a dive.


Example checklist

Checklists are often presented as lists with small checkboxes down the left hand side of the page. A small tick or checkmark is drawn in the box after the item has been completed.

Other formats are also sometimes used. Aviation checklists generally consist of a system and an action divided by a dashed line, and lack a checkbox as they are often read aloud and are usually intended to be reused.


Excessive dependence of checklists may hinder performance when dealing with a time-critical situation, for example a medical emergency or an in-flight emergency. Checklists should not be used as a replacement for common sense. Intensive training including rote-learning of checklists can help integrate use of checklists with more adaptive and flexible problem solving techniques.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haynes A; Gawande A (January 2009). "A surgical safety checklist to reduce morbidity and mortality in a global population.". New England Journal of Medicine. 360 (5): 491–499. PMID 19144931. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa0810119. 
  2. ^ Bergs, J; Hellings, J; Cleemput, I; Zurel, Ö; De Troyer, V; Van Hiel, M; Demeere, JL; Claeys, D; Vandijck, D (Feb 2014). "Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of the World Health Organization surgical safety checklist on postoperative complications.". The British journal of surgery. 101 (3): 150–8. PMID 24469615. doi:10.1002/bjs.9381. 

External links[edit]