Word, Visual and Mathematical Models

Word Models:

  • Consist of words.
  • Examples: a specification, an abstract
  • Provide significant amount of information
  • Can be structured in different ways
  • Weakness: linear and not multi-dimensional – hard to provide complex relationships, can become unwieldy

Visual Models:

  • Type of picture – ‘a picture paints a thousand words’
  • Show a lot of information in small amount of space
  • Show relationships between components/elections of situation/system
  • Combine with word model – effective analysis of situation
  • Example: London Underground map – not to scale and physical layout different to geographical layout. Provides multiple options for chosen journey. Valid model – functions correctly and consistently.

Mathematical Models:

  • Contain numeric figures, functions or logical statements
  • Effective at providing significant amounts of information
  • Effective at producing summary information
  • Range in format from list of numbers to formulae, balance sheets and spreadsheets
  • Decision-making aid – able to provide key information
  • Important in performance monitoring with metrics and KPIs
  • Weakness: lack of context e.g. profit of x excludes info such as turnover, targets and costs
  • Need to combine with word models to provide full view of situation





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