Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Applied Science


School of Arts and Applied Sciences


Faculty of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Dr Jim Millar

Second Advisor

Dr Sandra Baxendell


This thesis details the development of an expert system for the diagnosis of diseases in fibre and dairy goats. Divided into five sections, five appendices, and a bibliography, this thesis centres on the methods used to build the expert system: the decisions taken at the outset of, and during the course of, development; some of the problems encountered, and the solutions to those problems. A detailed appraisal is made of the development process and suggestions are made for future developments over similar domains (for example, the diagnosis of diseases in animals other than goats). Much emphasis is placed on three topics in particular: the selection of the expert system tool(s) to be used (and the rejection of numerous others); the methodology employed for this selection process; and the methodology used for the process of development. Other topics which are routinely found in texts on expert systems (for example, knowledge elicitation techniques, explanatory facilities, expert system evaluation etc) are dealt with only briefly. However, for the reader interested in further information on these topics, references are made in the text to appropriate sources.