Abstract for: A Validation Methodology for System Dynamics Models

Quality is a critically important issue in almost every discipline. The literature in the field of System Dynamics has bred a number of contributions concerning tests for the validation of simulation models and its epistemological foundations. To date, however, little has been said about a validation methodology for System Dynamics models, even for simulations in gen-eral. By validation methodology, we understand the systematic elicitation, description, and reflection of issues related to the subject of ‘validation’. The paper’s contribution is to initiate the development of a validation methodology. We explicitly address three topics: Complexity engineering through validation tests, integrated validation process, and finally the decision to cease validation efforts. The first defines validation tests according to their capability to ac-count for a certain level of model complexity; the second designs a validation process which addresses the domains of validation (structure, behavior, context validation) and the levels of resolution (micro, meso, macro) integratively and iteratively. And third, the ‘cession decision’ creates a heuristic method for the saturation of a System Dynamics model and conceptually defines when to cease with validation efforts. The paper concludes by providing further directions of research about a validation methodology.