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An analytical framework for group simulation model building

Bolt, T and Bayer, S and Kapsali, M and Brailsford, S (2020) An analytical framework for group simulation model building. Health Systems. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2047-6965

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Abstract

© 2020, © Operational Research Society 2020. This paper presents a framework for understanding and improving the process of simulation model building involving a group of domain experts, classifying the different roles the model may play at various stages of its development. The framework consists of four different “object roles”, defined along two dimensions: a functional dimension (boundary object vs. representational object) and a knowledge dimension (epistemic object vs. technical object). A model can take different roles during the development process, e.g. for facilitating communication, for gaining insight into the real-world system, or for experimentation and policy evaluation. The use of the framework is illustrated by two case studies in healthcare. Its relevance and applicability are examined through a survey on model use. The survey was conducted among a group of modelling consultants with experience of using both discrete-event simulation and system dynamics within the NHS, and indicated the potential usefulness of the framework.

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