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Conceptual modelling for shared understanding

In broad terms, conceptual modelling is the process of developing a graphical representation (or model) from the real world. The conceptual modeller has to determine what aspects of the real world to include, and exclude, from the model, and at what level of detail to model each aspect. These decisions should generally be a joint agreement between the modeller and the problem owners i.e. the stakeholders who require the model to aid decision-making. The process of conceptual modelling requires decisions to be taken regarding the scope and level of detail of the model. It also requires assumptions to be made about the situation concerned. The conceptual models talked about below can also be thought of as non-software specific descriptions of the situation under inquiry - describing the objectives, inputs, outputs, content, assumptions and appropriate simplifications required. In this wider sense those making conceptual models may be facilitators helping groups of stakeholders better understand their situation. Some papers about conceptual modelling follow:

Conceptual models also provide a useful starting point for participatory or collaborative modeling efforts. They help different stakeholder groups establish a common language that facilitates more innovative planning and evaluation. Developing conceptual models is also a key step in developing indicators for sustainable and performance-based management. Another related page in this section provides a number of links outlining how to develop programme-based outcomes models, also called intervention logic models.