The practice of mixing OR methods: interviews with experienced modellers

Susan Howick, Fran Ackermann

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The complexities of real-world problems mean that combining OR methods (in part or whole) is often required. However, to date, when combining OR methods, researchers have predominantly focused on how methods can be effectively mixed with a number of researchers discussing theoretical considerations whereas, the implications for practice have been given relatively limited attention. To gain further insight into the practice of mixing OR methods, this presentation will reflect on the findings of a series of in-depth interviews that were carried out with 14 practitioners (both academic and non-academic) who have an average of 25 years of OR modelling experience. To explore not only the content but also the structure of the interviews, i.e. how particular insights impacted other insights, a novel approach was taken to the analysis of the material. After coding the material and highlighting initial themes, causal mapping was used to reflect the linkages between themes and emergent characteristics of the material allowing for an analysis to be undertaken of the systemicity of the material. This led to a number of insights about mixing methods, in particular with respect to the approach taken to mixing methods, the modelling team and the value and learning gained from the experiences. The insights from both the content and structural analysis have implications for both the practice and teaching of OR.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 5 Sept 2019
Event61st Operational Research Society conference - Kent University, Canterbury, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sept 20195 Sept 2019


Conference61st Operational Research Society conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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