MAKE - Multi-Aspectual Knowledge Elicitation

Mike Winfield, University of Central England, has recently devised a reasonably simple method that helps widen the focus during knowledge acquisition: MAKE, Multi-Aspectual Knowledge Elicitation. It is based on the idea that a knowledge base is a kind of 'theory' of the domain, that each rule therein is a small 'theory' about what is important. It contains ideas from Clouser (1991), Stafleu (1987) and Thagard (1992) about what theories are, and makes use of Dooyeweerd's (1955) suite of aspects that were presented during the Human Factors module.

It recognises two things about experts. One is that the true expert will be functioning in all of Dooyeweerd's aspects as they go about their expert activity, but that much of this will be tacit knowledge. The other is that there will usually be a couple of aspects of which the expert is aware, that are the core aspects of their expertise. So the method starts by focusing on those core aspects, and then widens the focus from that starting point by using Dooyeweerd's suite as a checklist. It has the following steps:

  1. Start with a statement of requirements.

  2. Working with the user or expert, apply the aspectual template to the statement of requirements and identify the important aspects.

  3. Isolate one of the aspects identified in (2) and specify any laws, axioms, data, definitions and constraints that apply within it to the domain.

  4. Identify as many concepts as possible that lie in this aspect. (Note: May need to check later whether the concepts fall in the correct aspect.)

  5. Apply Low Level Abstraction (Clouser, 1991) to expand on each concept that needs (or is thought to need) exploding. This should identify new concepts and the links between them.

  6. Repeat steps 3-6 as necessary. (This means working with other important aspects, and also some circularity in steps 3-5.)

  7. Use the aspectual template to identify any new aspects that might apply to the concepts already specified, building bridges between concepts and aspects.

Winfield has used this method in a number of domains, ranging from vetinary practice and tree growing to rules about Hallal foods. He found that in most domains the majority of Dooyeweerdian aspects proved relevant, in the expert's eyes. He found that the method is robust, that it does widen the focus to include aspects that are normally forgotten, that it is indeed useful for explicating tacit knowledge, and that it is easily grasped, learned and used by those with no knowledge of either Dooyeweerd or KBS.

Dooyeweerd's Aspects

The following are Dooyeweerd's aspects, as used in MAKE:

For further details, see The Dooyeweerd Pages.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2001.

Last updated: 6 April 2001