Modelling pp 25-31 | Cite as

How do I start?

  • John N. R. Jeffers
Part of the Outline Studies in Ecology book series (OSE)


Modelling starts in the same way as any other scientific investigation should start — by a careful definition and bounding of the problem to be solved. It is necessary to emphasize this point because the brief history of modelling in ecology, and elsewhere, has been bedevilled by the alternative approach of looking for applications of existing models. Correctly used, however, models should be developed for problems which have been defined before any consideration is given to the type of model which will be used as a basis for the investigation. Only by being very sure about the purpose of the research, and by stating clearly and explicitly its objectives and the reasons for doing the research in the first place, can we ensure that the limited resources which we have to deploy will be correctly allocated and not dispersed into activities which are irrelevant to the problem we are meant to be addressing, and to the original universe of discourse. It also helps if the original objectives are translated into some precise questions that the research may be expected to answer.


Ecological System Storage Tank Verbal Description Original Objective Careful Definition 
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Copyright information

© J.N.R. Jeffers 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • John N. R. Jeffers
    • 1
  1. 1.Merlewood Research StationInstitute of Terrestrial EcologyGrange-over-Sands, CumbriaUK

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