Techniques to capture personal knowledge

[German title: Methoden zur Erfassung von personengebundenem Wissen]

Nick Milton, David Clarke and Nigel Shadbolt
Knowledge engineering and psychology: Towards a closer relationship
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Volume 64, Issue 12 , December 2006, Pages 1214-1229

Abstract: Knowledge engineering projects deal with a wide range of domains within organizational and academic contexts. A number of elicitation techniques are used to acquire knowledge from experts. Most of these techniques originated within psychology but have been developed by knowledge engineers to become more structured, efficient and systematic. Until now, nobody has tried to re-apply these modified techniques back into psychology. This paper describes work that addresses this matter. It focuses on the psychological knowledge possessed by all people that enables them to deal with everyday problems and make life decisions. We refer to this as ‘personal knowledge’. To take a knowledge engineering approach to personal knowledge, we investigated the use of knowledge elicitation techniques to capture personal knowledge. We describe an empirical study involving ten participants and 80 knowledge acquisition sessions that assessed eight elicitation techniques in this context. The results revealed that each of the techniques showed promise at efficiently capturing and structuring aspects of an individual’s personal knowledge. A content analysis of the acquired knowledge led to the construction of a meta-model (a primitive ontology) of personal knowledge and to the design for a new methodology for psychological research. From the perspective of psychology, the paper shows that knowledge engineering methods can be of value to psychologists. From the perspective of knowledge engineering and the wider computer science community, the paper shows that empirical methods used by psychologists can benefit the development and evaluation of ontologies and elicitation techniques.

Keywords: Knowledge elicitation; Knowledge acquisition; Psychology; Psychotherapy; Meta-model; Qualitative methods; PCPACK

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