NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1164726
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Evaluating and Communicating Geologic Reasoning with Semiotics and Certainty Estimation
Parcell, William C.; Parcell, Lisa M.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v57 n5 p379-389 Nov 2009
Cognitive and conceptual uncertainties are critical elements in geology from the earliest data collection stage to concluding interpretations. How a geologist conceptually weighs the importance of various data greatly influences final interpretations. In order for the process of data selection and interpretation to be transparent and repeatable, field methods and analyses should be able to communicate these cognitive processes, yet such uncertainty is difficult to characterize and estimate with standard statistical methods based on frequency probability. Semiotics and expert systems are used to frame discussion of the methods of stratigraphic reasoning and develop a field-based method to communicate cognitive and conceptual uncertainty from data collection to final interpretation. In semiotics, signs are the meanings an observer gives to an object to reach an interpretation. Uncertainty in knowledge is derived from problems in recognizing objects and judgment of inferred relevance to a larger interpretation. A final measure of geologic interpretation certainty (IC) can be derived from the product of the confidence factor (CF) of a measurement and the relevance factor (RF) of that object to an interpretation. Communicating levels of interpretation certainty, relevance, and significance allows geologic investigations to be more transparent to subsequent geoscientists, non-geologists, and even the original investigator.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A