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A Rule-Based Decision Support System for Authoring Technical Instructions

[+] Author Affiliations
Rahul Sharan Renu, Lynn Hanson

Francis Marion University, Florence, SC

Paper No. DETC2017-67427, pp. V001T02A016; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: 37th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5811-0
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


The objective of this research is to investigate the viability of a decision support system for technical instruction authors who write instructions in free text. The foundation for the decision support system relies on mapping computational linguistic metrics to guidelines for authoring technical instructions. For example, the guideline Limit each sentence to 25 words or fewer maps to the computational linguistic metrics Word Count. As another example, the guideline Begin each step with a command (an imperative verb) maps to the Location of first imperative verb metric. Testing the decision support system shows its effectiveness and suggests a need to expand the computational rule-base to include even more guidelines. Doing so can further enhance the usability of the decision support system in writing environments. Faculty and students in academia and employees in industry need such a system to improve the quality of written instructions, accelerate revisions, and enhance productivity. In summary, a rule-base for providing feedback to technical authors has been investigated and established. With this rule-base as a foundation, a decision support system has been developed and tested, and the source code has been made publically available.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Testing , Feedback , Students



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