CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

John M. Weiner

Committee Member

Junping Sun


Idea Analysis was investigated to determine its ability to organize scientific information and explain the results of specialists' deliberations in designing new clinical trials. Ideas have long been recognized as the engine of creativity. By focusing on the capture of ideas from the scientific literature, idea analysis procedures enable the arrangement of the information into forms consistent with those developed by subject specialists. The most obvious example is the concept structure. Ideas containing a common frequently occurring term/phrase can be depicted as a primary node in the concept network. Related terms will appear as elements associated with that node. Ideas containing couplets of primary nodal terms/phrases can be used to link nodes, thus, completing the paths in the network. Using this methodology, information specialists can build and maintain knowledge structures for use by students, subject specialists and interested others. In contrast with expert systems, idea analysis does not attempt to duplicate thought processes performed by experts in a subject. Instead, it focuses on the management of ideas and the arrangement of those ideas using organizational models. The application of these techniques to the scientific literature dealing with brain tumors and to clinical trial protocols developed by subject specialists is illustrative. This study showed that, in the brain tumor literature and clinical trial protocols, the idea analysis approach was effective in accomplishing the two tasks required: 1. Organization of complex material into succinct and understandable descriptions--tabular and graphic; 2. provision of explanations of expert-derived research strategies and/or plans. This methodology enhanced identification, extraction, computerization and incorporation of ideas into knowledge structures in an efficient and effective manner.

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