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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An empirical investigation of knowledge acquisition Chan, Christine Wai-Chi


Expert systems are being developed despite the widely acknowledged problem of acquiring knowledge from experts. This study attempts to understand how knowledge acquisition is conducted in practice by investigating three expert system development projects. The variables examined include the expert, knowledge engineer, problem domain, organizational setting, the knowledge acquisition process, the expert system construction process, and the expert system itself. A case research methodology is adopted and data is collected through observation and taped protocol of knowledge acquisition sessions, post facto interviews with the participants involved, journalistic accounts kept by the subjects, and deliverables produced. Three cases on expert systems built in the domains of law of negligence, telephone line fault diagnostic, and wastewater treatment have been investigated. By juxtaposing the observations drawn from these cases with the findings reported in the literature, this inquiry contributes to the current understanding of the knowledge acquisition process.

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