Abstract for: Group Model Validation

In this paper we report if and how validation is integrated in the different participatory approaches in System Dynamics. After this we present an analysis of 86 case studies to create a picture of how validation is conducted and reported in the field. We found that validation is hardly described as an integrated part of any participatory modeling approach. Furthermore, the process of validation and the end-result is rarely reported on in any case study. We propose a framework for group model validation that is aimed at balancing individual mental models, group mental models and real world logic and data. Based on the tension between these three factors we developed a preliminary approach to participatory structure validation. This procedure is focused on generating a productive amount of cognitive conflict in order to confront the structure of the model with all available information. The outcome is increased structure validity, documentation of limitations and increased understanding of the reasoning underlying the model's structure.