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Characterisation of business documents: an approach to the automation of quality assessment

Thurlow, Ian; (2018) Characterisation of business documents: an approach to the automation of quality assessment. Doctoral thesis (EngD), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores a new approach to automatic characterisation of business documents of different levels of document effectiveness. Supervised text categorisation techniques are used to derive text features that characterise a specific type of business document in accordance with pre-assigned levels of document utility. The documents in question are the executive summary sections of a representative sample of sales proposal documents. The executive summaries are first rated by domain experts against a quality framework comprising pre-selected dimensions of document quality. An automatic analysis of the texts shows that certain words, word sequences, and patterns of words have the capacity to discriminate between executive summaries of varying levels of document effectiveness. Function words, which are frequently ignored in many text classification tasks, are retained and are shown to provide an important element of the word patterns. Automatic text classifiers that utilise these features are shown to categorise previously unseen executive summaries at an acceptable level of classification performance. The outcomes of the research are applied to the development of a new computer application. The application identifies, in the text of a new executive summary, word patterns that discriminate between sets of summaries previously categorised into different levels of document utility. The action of highlighting the respective categories of discriminating word patterns directs authors to areas of text that may need further attention. A trial of a prototype of the application suggests that it provides an effective way to help sales professionals improve the content and quality of the text of this type of business document. Moreover, as the approach is suitably generic, it could be applied to different types of document in different domains.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: EngD
Title: Characterisation of business documents: an approach to the automation of quality assessment
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Electronic and Electrical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050034
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