The Problem of Extracting the Knowledge of Experts from the Perspective of Experimental Psychology

Robert R. Hoffman


The first step in the development of an expert system is the extraction and characterization of the knowledge and skills of an expert. This step is widely regarded as the major bottleneck in the system development process. To assist knowledge engineers and others who might be interested in the development of an expert system, I offer (1) a working classification of methods for extracting an expert's knowledge, (2) some ideas about the types of data that the methods yield, and (3) a set of criteria by which the methods can be compared relative to the needs of the system developer. The discussion highlights certain issues, including the contrast between the empirical approach taken by experimental psychologists and the formalism-oriented approach that is generally taken by cognitive scientists.

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