Using Diagrammatic Representations in Mathematical Modeling: The Sketches of Expert Modelers

Laurie B. Waisel, William A. Wallace and Thomas R. Willemain

Modelers create descriptions of a problem in part to assess their understanding of the problem situation. We postulate that these descriptions, i.e., models, are often constructed in our minds, i.e., mental models, and that their complexity forces the modeler to use external memory aids such as pencil and paper. The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study of the use of sketches, i.e., diagrammatic representations, by modelers expert in the construction of mathematical models in the context of management science. In addition, we suggest a theoretical framework for the role of diagrammatic representations in the process of constructing mathematical models.

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