The key topics researched in IDEAL (Interactive Dialogues for Explanation and Learning) were:
a theory of explanation embracing the description of different types of explanation, a generic model of the explanation process in terms of action for information seeking and knowledge transfer and explanatory discourse;
a knowledge representation for task-based explanation and retrieval processes to satisfy user requests;
how user requests for information are analysed in a conversational context of discourse focus, a functional analysis of question types and the generation of appropriate answers;
the development of discourse models for planning contextually an appropriate control of the human computer interaction in explanation systems.