Verifier and knowledge:
A main theme in our research has been the Verifier approach for identifying error in expert reasoning about difficult problems. We later expanded this into the knowledge cycle. This work has involved integrating methods from four areas, namely elicitation, representation, error, and education.
Elicitation is about getting information out of people. From our Verifier viewpoint, this is essential for gaining an accurate understanding of what is is going on in a field. From the viewpoint of applied research, it is highly relevant to client requirements, market research, usability research, and related fields.
Representation is about how to structure and present information. This includes ways of visualising how people categorise information, and ways of finding the most suitable way of visualising a particular set of knowledge. Our work in this area extends into design and architecture, where we look at how a set of requirements map onto physical and spatial representations.
Error includes active errors, where someone has made a clear mistake, and passive errors, where someone has failed to spot a solution or opportunity. We’re particularly interested in passive errors, with particular regard to long-standing problems, and to clients who don’t know where to start looking for solutions to their problems.
Education includes training and learning. We’re particularly interested in craft skills – the everyday skills that are usually beneath the radar of training courses and the education system. Our work indicates that these skills are much more important than has previously been recognised, and that they are as important in advanced theoretical professions as in manual work.
Another topic that particularly interests us, and that has numerous overlaps with the four main areas of the knowledge cycle, is human desire. This involves investigating the underlying regularities in what people desire and what they fear. This work brings together concepts from fields as varied as humour, sport, film and horror.
Fields that particularly interest us:
Our work spans a range of fields. This section gives a brief overview.
Archaeology: Research into quantifying technological complexity and technological novelty, plus research into a way of identifying handedness in the archaeological record.
Design: Ways of applying user-centred approaches from software development to general product design.
Film and media: A broad range of ways to analyse film and media products and processes.
Gender: Metalanguage and concepts for discussing gender and related topics with more rigour and with more validity.
Human factors: A range of work relating to risk, to usability, to error, and to other human factors.
Medicine: Expert reasoning and attitudes.
Requirements: Rigorous and flexible methods for gathering, clarifying and systematising client requirements.
Software development: Designing and developing novel, user-friendly software.
Usability: Designing user-friendly products and processes.