Strengthening a Weak Link: Transparency of Qualitative Modeling Tools

System Dynamics Review (2023). https://doi.org/10.1002/sdr.1753

9 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2022 Last revised: 29 Dec 2023

See all articles by Mohammad S. Jalali

Mohammad S. Jalali

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Elizabeth Beaulieu

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School

Date Written: October 12, 2022

Abstract

Transparency is a critical aspect of systems science. While transparency of quantitative models has been assessed, transparency of their qualitative structures has been less scrutinized. We assess the transparency of causal loop diagrams (CLDs), the main qualitative tool in system dynamics. We evaluated recent System Dynamics Review (SDR) publications and a sample of most-cited comparable articles in other journals (2018-2021). We assessed the inclusion of a plain language methods statement; overall discernibility of the methods; and identification of causal link sources. Reviewing 72 articles (SDR: 36; other journals: 36), only 44%, 38%, and 25% fully satisfied each criterion, respectively. SDR articles were characterized by higher transparency only in communicating the source of causal links. We provide specific recommendations based on different modeling methods to increase the transparency of CLDs. Transparent reporting offers advantages to the authors of the original research, future expansion of CLDs, and the systems science community.

Note:
Funding Information: No funding was used to conduct this study.

Conflict of Interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Suggested Citation

Jalali, Mohammad S. and Beaulieu, Elizabeth, Strengthening a Weak Link: Transparency of Qualitative Modeling Tools (October 12, 2022). System Dynamics Review (2023). https://doi.org/10.1002/sdr.1753, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4245788 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4245788

Mohammad S. Jalali (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School ( email )

101 Merrimac St
Suite 1010
Boston, MA 02114
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/jalali

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/jalali

Elizabeth Beaulieu

Harvard University - Harvard Medical School ( email )

25 Shattuck St
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
95
Abstract Views
412
Rank
499,431
PlumX Metrics