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m6 OUTCOME

At the end of the account of a problem-solving process, a summary is needed of what has been achieved. Therefore, we define an Outcome module reflecting the final stage of the problem-solving process of the research reported in the article. In the prototypical linear article, this stage is addressed in a Conclusions section.

The module is an aggregate of two different components: the findings of the research effort at stake and the formulation of problems that are candidates for further problem-solving research.
\begin{11499}The module \m{OUTCOME} is a \index{Compound module}compound module ...
...{Findings} and a constituent module \m{Leads for further research}.
\end{11499}



m6a Findings  
The authors' findings constitute their answer to the central question of the article formulated in the module Central problem. These findings are made explicit in this constituent module of the Outcome:
\begin{11500}The module \m{FINDINGS} is an elementary module containing
\begin{...
...e reliability and on the relevance of the findings.
\end{itemize}
\end{11500}
In principle, this module gives an account of the completion of the problem-solving process represented in the article. In practice, however, the Findings do not necessarily provide a clear answer to the central question. The conclusion can be that the results are inconclusive and that further research is needed, for example, because the theory did not apply to the situation at hand, or because a better resolution of the data is needed for an unambiguous interpretation. On the other hand, answers may have been found to related questions that are not specified in the module Central problem.

Also, an overall judgement of the reliability and the relevance of the research presented in the article can be briefly given and justified. A more extensive justification takes place in the other modules.



m6b Leads for further research  
Regular research generally leads to new problems, whether the problem at hand has been solved or not. Signalling these new problems provides readers with leads for further research. Hence, we define this constituent module of the Outcome:
\begin{11501}The module \m{LEADS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH} may contain:
\begin{item...
...olved problems, with a suggestion how to solve them;
\end{itemize}
\end{11501}
When no satisfactory solution has been found for the central problem of the article, that problem is put up for further investigation. Based on their research, the authors are able to suggest how it could be approached, or at least to warn the reader how it cannot be solved. When the authors have encountered new problems related to the problem at hand, these can also be made explicit in this module.


 
Table 4.1: An excerpt of the physics terms we used in the modularised articles. The terms are organised in a hierarachy of general and more specific terms. Terms like `cross section' can have arguments, e.g. specifying particles involved in the collision; the different types of particles are given under the heading `materials'
15.8cm!
SCATTERING:
INSTRUMENTATION Molecular beam techniques[source;selection;interaction;analysis;detection;energy]
      SOURCES: sputtering, charge-exchange, ...
    [...] DETECTORS: surface ionisation, ...
  [...]
QUANTITIES Cross section[reaction;material1;material2;energy]
    Total cross section [reaction;material1;material2;energy]
    Differential cross section [reaction;material1;material2;energy]
  [...]
MOLECULAR DYNAMICS:
REACTIONS charge transfer
    ion-pair formation
      chemi-ionisation
  [...]
MATERIALS: electropositive atoms molecules
    alkali: K, Na, Li  
  electronegative    
    halogen: I, Br, Cl ${\rm I_2}$, ${\rm Br_2}$, ${\rm Cl_2}$
      O, N, ... ${\rm O_2}$, ${\rm N_2}$, ${\rm NO_2}$...
  [...]    
 

The most obvious aspect by which information in scientific articles is characterised is from a domain-oriented point of view, by its contents. Using this characterisation complementarily to the characterisation by the conceptual function given in the previous section, we can distinguish, for instance, between different Treated results modules focusing on different reactions.

The domain-oriented characterisation is generally implemented in index terms, such as key words or classification codes. The index terms can be uncontrolled terms invented by the author, or controlled terms that are derived from a classification certified and maintained by some indexing authority. The characterisation space of this aspect of the information is spanned by at least one dimension, with a variable corresponding with the elementary scientific concepts. But for an adequate representation, the conceptual space should be spanned by more than one dimension, allowing for a complex domain-oriented characterisation using different key words. The number of dimensions spanning the space is not limited a priori, but dependent on the requirements for an adequate representation.


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Next: The domain-oriented characterisation Up: The characterisation by the Previous: m5 INTERPRETATION