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Why modelling and models matter

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)14-24
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


When OR/MS analysts develop a model, how are they intending this model to be used? There are many different ways in which OR/MS models may be classified and one important categorisation is the intended use of the model. Some models are intended for routine use on a frequent basis, with little or no human intervention. Others form part of human decision process and provide support to that process. Considering model validation, data requirements, added value and possible pitfalls leads to a theory of model use based on four categories: decision automation, routine decision support, investigation and improvement, and generating insights for debate. A pilot investigation in an OR/MS group demonstrates that this categorisation could provide the basis for empirical research into a theory of model use in operational research. A theory of model use would be of value to academics, who could prioritise their work, and to practitioners, who could place their own work in a broader landscape.