Scriptapedia/Model Review

Model Review

This script is used to summarize dynamic insights and stories, clarify fuzzy ideas, capture additional information about model structure, and elicit feedback from participants after causal structures have been developed, typically at the end of a session.


Best practices

Primary nature of group task



Preparation time: 5 minutes

Time required during session: 15 minutes

Follow-up time: 0 minutes


  1. Screen
  2. Projector


  • Diagram of model


  • List of main feedback loops and dynamics identified
  • List of insights gained from the connection circle exercise and subsequent model


  • Modeler with experience building models
  • Reflector with extensive experience building and analyzing system dynamics models
  • Recorders with note-taking experience


  1. At the start of the model review, the modeler moves up to the front of the room.
  2. The modeler describes the causal loop diagram and stresses that this is another reflection of the exact same linkages and variables discussed during the exercise and that none of these elements have been changed. Modeler notes that plus and minus signs mean the same as in the previous exercise.
  3. In a causal diagram, the modeler takes care to explain reinforcing and balancing loops by tracing examples within the model (if available). Modeler introduces the reflector so that the reflector can discuss more insights regarding feedback within the model.
  4. The reflector reviews key insights from the causal map and reads back the stories associated with major reinforcing and balancing feedback loops, intervention points, etc.
  5. After the reflector has reviewed the diagram, the reflector then initiates questioning regarding what didn’t get recaptured or is missing from the diagram. The reflector assesses confirmation of the adequacy of the diagram as a representation of the group thinking. The recorders document the insights shared.
  6. The reflector also will point out subsequent, important changes in structure, help the group identify what is happening with the modeling, and highlight model-based insights that emerge.

Evaluation Criteria

  • A revised causal loop diagram that is based on an initial discussion
  • A shared understanding of the changes in the model and insights that have emerged


Based on the original script “Causal Mapping from Discussion” by Peter Hovmand, created on April 19, 2010.


Revised May 22, 2012 by Alison Kraus and Peter Hovmand.

Revised March 4, 2012 by Meagan Colvin and Peter Hovmand.


Richardson, G. P. (1997). Problems in causal loop diagrams. System Dynamics Review, 13(3), 247-252.