SEAS Glosary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms

Term Definition

Alternative Collection

An alternative collection captures the idea that its items are in competition with one another to be designated the best. This type of collection can be used to organize arguments that represent differing opinions on a common topic with one designed as filling the role of Best (see Joining Arguments for more details).

Argument 

A specific line-of-reasoning that relates evidence to conclusions; an analytic product; an instantiated argument template including answers to questions posed by the template, evidence, and rationale.

Argument Skeleton 

The framework underlying an argument template; that which determines the number and relationships among a set of uninstantiated questions (i.e., random variables); together with a fusion method, captures an uninstantiated analytic method.

Argument Template

A reasoning method; a domain-specific analytic method; an instantiated argument skeleton including questions, multiple choice answers, and discovery tools.

Audience

Those who can view (but not modify) the contents of an argument, template, or other document.

Author

Those who are responsible for the content of an argument, template, or other document. For an unpublished work, those that can modify it.

Citation

A reference to a source that uniquely identifies it e.g., a bibliographic reference.

Collection

A group of related objects (see Using Collections for more details).

Component Argument/Template

An argument/template that serves as part of a multi-dimensional argument/template.

Constellation

A graphical depiction of a multi-dimensional argument, where trees of lights, one for each component argument, are laid out radial, placing the root node/light nearest the origin and growing out from there, with larger nodes/lights used nearer the origin

 Corporate Memory

The repository where all arguments, templates, and situation descriptors are recorded; a knowledge base of analytic products and methods indexed by the situations to which they apply.

 Demote Evidence

The action of converting evidence into an exhibit, by striping away its stated relevance.

 Derivative Question

A question in an argument/template/skeleton whose answer is automatically derived from the answers to other supporting questions.

Discovery Tool

A recommended method for acquiring information pertaining to a question; a parameterized query or tool launch, attached to a specific question within an argument template or argument (see Using Discovery Tools for more details)..

Evidence

An exhibit whose relevance to the subject matter of an argument has been established; a thing helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment; any species of proof presented for the purpose of inducing belief in a contention.

Exhibit

A document connected with the subject matter of an argument which upon acceptance is marked for identification and made part of the argument; documents that are potentially relevant to answering a posed question (see Using Exhibits for more details).

Fusion Method

A method that derives an answer to a question by uniformly combining the answers from a set of supporting questions; a method for combining evidence to derive an answer to the associated focal question (see Automated Fusion Methods and Inference Methods for more details).

  • Automated: A fusion method that requires no user assistance.
  • Average: An automated fusion method that returns the average valued answer, where the answers are interpreted along a spectrum from low (green) to high (red).
  • Average Weighted: An automated fusion method that returns the weighted average valued answer, where some answers are weighted more heavily than others and the answers are interpreted along a spectrum from low (green) to high (red).
  • Bound: An automated fusion method that returns all answers between and including the lowest and highest valued answers .
  • Consensus: An automated fusion method that returns the average valued answer with greater weight given to emphatic answers, where the answers are interpreted along a spectrum from low (green) to high (red).
  • Consensus Weighted: An automated fusion method that returns the average valued answer with greater weight given to emphatic answers, where some answers are also initially weighted more heavily than others and the answers are interpreted along a spectrum from low (green) to high (red).
  • Manual: A fusion method that relies solely upon the user to produce the answer.
  • Maximum: An automated fusion method that returns highest valued answer i.e., the answer closest to red.
  • Minimum: An automated fusion method that returns the lowest valued answer i.e., the answer closest to green.
  • Home Collection

    A collection designated by the user that appears as the first object in the SEAS Object Manager; this collection is analogous to a user's home directory in a computer file system.

    Inference Method

    An inference method assigns an automated fusion method to every derivative question in a template.

    Join

    Arguments based upon a common template can be merged through a join. The joint answer to each question, in the resulting argument, is based upon the independent answers, from the original arguments, captured as independent bodies of evidence in support of that question.

    Knowledge Base

    The repository where all arguments, templates, and situation descriptors are recorded; a corporate memory of analytic products and methods indexed by the situations to which they apply.

    Memo

    Annotations placed on SEAS objects that include a textual subject and body. The equivalent of sticky notes, formatted as memos (see Using Memos for details).

     Multi-Dimensional Argument/Template

    A coordinated set of arguments/templates each of which captures a line-of-reasoning pertaining to a different question corresponding to a different aspect of the overall subject.

    Miscellaneous Collection

    A collection with no additional relationship among the items other than their membership in the collection.

    Navigation Map

    A graphical depiction of a uni-dimensional argument/template consisting of a tree of nodes, one node per question, with each derivative question positioned above and connected to its supporting questions.

     Primitive Question

    A question in an argument/template/skeleton that is answered directly.

    Published

    The state of an argument, template, or document where it is guaranteed to be stable and to persistent i.e., it can be reliably cited knowing that it will be available and unchanged. If an argument is published then so must be its template and evidence.

     Promote Exhibit

    The action of converting and exhibit into evidence by recording its relevance.

    Question Amplification

    Additional information and considerations that further explain, refine, or restate a question posed in an argument/template.

    Question Topic

    A short phrase that describes the general topic of a question posed in an argument/template. These sometimes precede their associated question, separated by a colon. They sometimes are used in place of their question when a more compact form is needed.

     Rationale

    A statement of the reason for having so answered a question; explains the selected answer in light of the associated evidence.

    Relevance

    That quality of evidence which renders it properly applicable in determining the answer to a question; that which when added to an exhibit renders it evidence.

    Sequential Collection

    A collection with a linear ordering across its items.

    Situation Descriptor

    A recorded description of aspects of the type of situation to which a template was intended to apply or the specific situation for which an argument was developed. A situation descriptor is associated with every argument and template.

    Skeleton

    See Argument Skeleton.

    Starburst

    A graphical depiction of a multi-dimensional argument consisting of multiple axes radiating from a central point, one per component argument, with each component argument's answer plotted along its associated axis, resulting in a polygonal shape that summarizes the multi-dimensional conclusion of the argument.

    Template

    See Argument Template.

    Uni-Dimensional Argument/Template

    An argument/template that consists of a line-of-reasoning that answers a single question.

    Unpublished

    The state of an argument, template, or document where it is potentially unstable and may not persist i.e., it cannot be reliably cited since its contents or availability might be changed by its authors. If an argument's template or evidence is unpublished then so must be the argument.

    Versioning Collection

    A collection with a linear ordering across its items and three roles (Next, Current, and Previous) that are filled by items in the collection. The Current item is the version currently in use while the Previous item is the former current version and the Next item is the future current version.

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