Visual interactive modelling : some guidelines for its implementation and some aspects of its potential impact on operational research
The thesis reports a research programme designed to answer two research questions. These are concerned with improving the practice of Visual Interactive Modelling in the context of an Operational Research activity and the potential contribution of Visual Interactive Modelling towards overcoming certain long term concerns which the Operational Research community has regarding the service it provides. The literature of Visual Interactive Modelling is reviewed, as is that of wider aspects of Operational Research concerned with the paradigm used by its practitioners and researchers. Two series of experimental studies are undertaken to collect data to help answer the research questions. Action Research is used for a series of six studies of Visual Interactive Modelling cases. The second series is more laboratory based to gain a type of data which is not available from Action Research. Results are presented in three forms. A 'body of experience' is collated from the data collected during the studies. This will form a base for future researchers in the Visual Interactive Modelling field. Secondly, a series of guidelines is tentatively proposed which could be used by practitioners as a basis for good practice in Visual Interactive Modelling. Finally, in the light of the data collected and reviews of the literature, a new way of considering the contribution of Visual Interactive Modelling to the Operational Research process is proposed. Suggestions for further research are offered.