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Models and Methods for Reflecting and Improving Analytical Tools and Practice Using Flow, FlowSpaces, m3 [em-cubed], CDG+ and TextWorlds+ for mindful multi-level analysis of text

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Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
This Dissertation offers a transdisciplinary integration of several strands of research from human cognition and language understanding across to analytical practice and analytical tool design. This work aims to enable reflective practice for the individual analyst by developing theoretical models, applied methods, and prototype systems that are focused on overcoming core challenges related to deficits in the cognitive and functional capacities of human analysts and their analytical tools. Five integrally related research projects are first grounded by an elaboration of the problem space and a thorough inventory of the concepts, theories, and methods drawn from disciplines that study human cognition and enact analytical practice. The reseach focus proceeds from a broad view on analysis, through to the often overlooked analytical task of shallow evaluative judgment in the preparatory phase of analysis, and finally to the deeper and under-supported task of analytical reading in the execution phase of analysis. The collective goal of these projects is to understand, capture, and enable the processes of general analysis, shallow evaluation and deep comprehension, by creating models, methods, and systems to interactively capture and reflect these cognitive and functional processes. At the broadest level, both the Flow Model and the FlowSpaces System aim to enable process-focussed reflection on focal activities by theorizing a general analysis process, and by capturing and analyzing workflow focus data. The m^3 prototype system and method captures shallow analytical judgments in the preparatory phase of the analysis process as bundles, tags, and highlights. The capture of these metadata objects aims to enable file-focused reflection, on a record of procedural states of files as they are processed through workflows and more generally upon the preparatory process of feature identification and boundary judgment. Finally, to better understand the execution of deeper textual analysis, my extended Cognitive Discourse Grammar offers models of discourse context, discourse content, and the dynamics of discourse processing, as well as several novel methods and interfaces for meta-contextual classification of text. These models are the basis for the applied method and proposed system of TextWorlds+ discourse analysis, which captures interactive TextWorld models as external representations of the internal mental models of conceptual structure formed while reading. Interaction with these models aims to enable meta-cognitive reflection upon the internal cognitive processes of language comprehension.
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Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: DiPaola, Steve
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etd9490_ASmith.pdf 38.42 MB

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