The University of Sussex

PMI: Knowledge elicitation and De Bono's thinking tools

M-M. Portmann, S.M. Easterbrook

Much attention in knowledge acquisition has been directed at the question "What is Knowledge?" In this paper, we discuss a related question, which consider to be of equal importance, namely "What is Thinking?". We present a definition of thinking that emphasizes the importance of arriving at new arrangements of knowledge, and discuss how having knowledge about something can be used to avoid thinking. Given this view, it is clear that stimulating an expert to think about the domain can provide more detailed knowledge about both the domain and about the expert himself. We have taken one of De Bono's thinking tools, the PMI (plus-minus-interesting) and built a knowledge elicitation tool for use in a domain where the expert's responses are likely to be based on unquestioned judgements. The tool requires the expert to think about the domain in ways that he is perhaps not used to, and the information elicited form this exercise gives an insight into the judgement policies of the expert. This, in turn, is of use when applying the knowledge, particularly where the resolution of conflicts becomes necessary.

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