Scriptapedia/Variable Elicitation

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Variable Elicitation

This script is used to facilitate consensus-based group discussion about the model problem and boundaries early in the modeling process.

Status

Best practices

Primary nature of group task

Divergent

Time

Preparation time: 0 minutes

Time required during session: 20 minutes

Follow-up time: 0 minutes

Materials

  1. Markers
  2. Stacks of plain paper
  3. Chalk/whiteboard markers

Inputs

None

Outputs

Prioritized list of variables

Roles

  • Facilitator with moderate expertise in SD and small group facilitation
  • Modeler with moderate expertise in SD

Steps

  1. The facilitator gives each participant sheets of blank paper and markers.
  2. The facilitator writes a task-focusing question such as, “What are the key variables affecting the process and outcomes of the [project name] project?” on the whiteboard or flipchart.
  3. The facilitator asks participants to write as many problem-related variables as they can on the sheets of paper. Participants are given a few minutes to work individually on their lists.
  4. Once they have finished the individual exercise, the facilitator uses the same process used in the "Hopes and Fears" script to put all individual variables on the board. When a variable name is open to several interpretations, the facilitator asks for a brief description or definition of the variable, including the units in which the variable can be measured.
  5. The facilitator writes the variable name on the board, including any additional information in parenthesis.
  6. The facilitator asks the participants to prioritize the variables by simple voting mechanisms. Individuals can vote for as many variables as they want. The number of votes for each variable is also written down on the board.
  7. The facilitator makes a summary of the variables on the board, while the recorder captures the products of the process either photographically or in a word processor.
  8. The facilitator suggests which variables can be considered stocks as they are mentioned. If the participants agree, the facilitator can add the words “level of” to these variables.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Identification of key variables and stocks
Example 1


Authors

Andersen and Richardson

History

Originally described in Luna-Reyes et al. (2006).

Revisions

None

References

Luna-Reyes, L. F., Martinez-Moyano, I. J., Pardo, T. A., Cresswell, A. M., Andersen, D. F., & Richardson, G. P. (2006). Anatomy of a group model-building intervention: Building dynamic theory from case study research. System Dynamics Review, 22(4), 291-320.

Notes

A variation of this script is the Nominal Group Technique.