Loughborough University
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Insight generation in simulation studies: an empirical exploration

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posted on 2016-12-16, 09:29 authored by Anastasia Gogi
This thesis presents an empirical research that aims to explore insight generation in discrete-event simulation (DES) studies. It is often claimed that simulation is useful for generating insights. There is, however, almost no empirical evidence to support this claim. The factors of a simulation intervention that affect the occurrence of insight are not clear. A specific claim is that watching the animated display of a simulation model is more helpful in making better decisions than relying on the statistical outcomes generated from simulation runs; but again, there is very limited evidence to support this. To address this dearth of evidence, two studies are implemented: a quantitative and a qualitative study. In the former, a laboratory-based experimental study is used, where undergraduate students were placed in three separate groups and given a task to solve using a model with only animation, a model with only statistical results, or using no model at all. In the qualitative study, semi-structured interviews with simulation consultants were carried out, where participants were requested to account examples of projects in which clients change their problem understanding and generate more effective ideas. The two separated parts of the study found different types of evidence to support that simulation generates insight. The experimental study suggests that insights are generated more rapidly from statistical results than the use of animation. Research outcomes from the interviews include descriptions of: the phase of a simulation study where insight emerges; the role of different methods applied and means used in discovering and overcoming discontinuity in thinking (for instance, the role of consultant s influence in problem understanding); how some factors of a simulation intervention are associated with the processes of uncovering and overcoming discontinuity in thinking (for example, the role of clients team in the selection of methods used to communicate results); and the role of the model and consultant in generating new ideas. This thesis contributes to the limited existing literature by providing a more in depth understanding of insight in the context of simulation and empirical evidence on the insight-enabling benefits of simulation based on an operational definition. The findings of the study provide new insights into the factors of simulation that support fast and creative problem solving.


Loughborough University, SIMUL8.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Anastasia Gogi

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en