When one conducts a search for “functional analysis” on any search engine, a wide range of tools for various uses pops up. Some of these tools involve analyzing behavior in psychological studies (1), some involve computer networks (2), and some involve mathematical analyses (1). Functional analysis techniques can also be used to analyze complex systems to ensure needed components of a system are in place and available for use (3). Once again, when a Web search is conducted for the word “function,” a wide range of definitions come up, along with where a person can buy “function,” whatever that means. Dictionarey.com (4) defines function as follows:
noun 1. the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution; the purpose for which something is designed or exists; role.
This is the definition that will be used in this chapter for function. It is the kind of action or activity proper to a person, thing, or institution or the purpose for which something is designed. For instance, a screw driver is designed to be used to tighten screws. There are different types of screw drivers: flat, Phillips, star, hex head, electric, battery operated, and plain old manual ones. However, sometimes screw drivers are used for other purposes, such as a hammer, a pry bar, or a weapon to name a few. However, the function a screw driver was designed to perform is to tighten screws. In a full tool kit, a screw driver has only one function.
The space shuttle Columbia ...