Best practices in system dynamics modeling


  • Ignacio J. Martinez-Moyano,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Chicago, Computation Institute, Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    • Argonne National Laboratory, Decision and Information Sciences Division, Argonne, IL, U.S.A.
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  • George P. Richardson

    1. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, NY, U.S.A.
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  • The submitted manuscript has been created by UChicago Argonne, LLC, Operator of Argonne National Laboratory (“Argonne”). Argonne, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, is operated under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The U.S. Government retains for itself, and others acting on its behalf, a paid-up nonexclusive, irrevocable worldwide license in said article to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, by or on behalf of the Government. This work was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Correspondence to: Ignacio J. Martinez-Moyano. E-mail:


This research explores opinions about best practices in system dynamics modeling elicited from a distinguished group of experts in the field. We address three questions: What do practitioners believe is the best way to undertake system dynamics modeling? What specific core activities are essential for exemplary action during the different stages of the modeling process? What do experts believe are the most important practices during the different stages of the modeling process? The researchers used a multi-method approach involving interviews, virtual meetings using the Internet, statistical analysis of the generated data and, finally, a facilitated face-to-face meeting in which experts discussed the results of the study and their implications. The results of this research include 72 best practices grouped into six categories that reflect the stages of the system dynamics modeling process. Copyright © 2013 System Dynamics Society.