Expert knowledge elicitation to improve formal and mental models Academic Article uri icon


  • Knowledge intensive processes are often driven and constrained by the mental models of experts acting as direct participants or managers. Descriptions of these relationships are not generally available from traditional data sources but are stored in the mental models of experts. Often the knowledge is not explicit but tacit, so it is difficult to describe, examine, and use. Consequently, improvement of complex processes is plagued by false starts, failures, institutional and interpersonal conflict, and policy resistance. Modelers face difficulties in eliciting and representing the knowledge of experts so that useful models can be developed. We describe and illustrate an elicitation method that uses formal modeling and three description format transformations to help experts explicate their tacit knowledge. We use the method to elicit detailed process knowledge describing the development of a new semiconductor chip. The method improved model accuracy and credibility and provided tools for development team mental model improvement. 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

published proceedings

  • System Dynamics Review

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Ford, D. N., & Sterman, J. D.

citation count

  • 185

complete list of authors

  • Ford, David N||Sterman, John D

publication date

  • January 1998