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MB0048 : Outline the broad features of the Judgement phase and Research phase of the scientific method in OR. Discuss in detail any of these phases.

Posted on: October 20, 2011

MB0048 : Outline the broad features of the Judgement phase and Research phase of the scientific method in OR. Discuss in detail any of these phases.
Answer : – About forty years ago, it would have been difficult to get a single operations-researcher to describe a procedure for conducting OR project. The procedure for an OR study generally involves the following major phases:

Phase1: Formulating the problem:  Before proceeding to find the solution of a problem, first of all one must be able to formulate the problem in the form of an appropriate model. To do so, the following information will be required.

  • Who has to take the decision?
  • What are the objectives?
  • What are the ranges of controlled variables?
  • What are the uncontrolled variables that may affect the possible solutions?
  • What are the restrictions or constraints on the variables?

Since wrong formulation cannot yield a right decision (solution), one must be considerably careful while execution this Phase.

Phase II: Constructing a mathematical model: The second phase of the investigations is concerned with the reformulation of the problem in an appropriate from which is convenient for analysis. The most suitable form for this purpose is to construct a mathematical model representing the system under study. It requires the identification of both static and dynamic structural elements. A mathematical model should include the following three important basic factors:

(i) Decision variables and parameters,

(ii) Constraints or Restrictions,

(iii) Objective function.

Phase III: Deriving the solutions from the model: This phase is devoted to the computation of those values of decision variables that maximize (or minimize) the objective function. Such solution is called an optimal solution which is always in the best interest of the problem under consideration.

 

Phase IV: Testing the model and its solution (updating the model): After completing the model, it is once again tested as a whole for the errors if any. A model said to be valid if it can provide a reliable prediction of the system’s performance. A good practitioner of Operations Research realize that his model be applicable for a longer time and those he updates the model time to time by talking into account the past, present and future specifications of the problem.

Phase V: Controlling the solution: This Phase establishes controls over the solution with any degree of satisfaction. The model requires immediate modification as soon as the controlled variables (one or more) change significantly, otherwise the model goes out of control. As the conditions are constantly changing in the world, the model and solution may not remain valid for a long time.

 

Phase VI: Implementing the solution: Finally, the tested results of the model are implemented to work. This Phase is primarily executed with the cooperation of Operation Research experts and those who are responsible for managing and operating the systems.

Scientific Method in Operation Research: The scientific method in OR study generally involves the three Phases:

(i) the judgment Phase,

(ii) the research Phase, and

(iii) the action Phase.

 

The judgment Phase includes:

(i) A determination of the operation.

(ii) The establishment of the objectives and values related to the operation.

(iii) The determination of the suitable measures of effectiveness.

(iv) Lastly, the formulation of the problems relative to the objectives.

 

The research Phase utilizes:

(i) Observations and data collection for a better understanding of what the problem is.

(ii) Formulation of hypothesis and models.

(iii) Observation and experimentation to test the hypothesis on the basis of additional data.

(iv) Analysis of the available information and verification of the hypothesis using pre-established measures of effectiveness.

(v) Predictions of various results from the hypothesis, generalization of the result and consideration of alternative methods.

The action Phase:

OR consists of making recommendations for decision process by those who first posed the problem for consideration, or by anyone in a position to make a decision influencing the operation in which the problem occurred.

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