Modelling is the simulation of the effects of certain changes and circumstances, and it can help us answer questions that no one empirical study can answer. Modelling enables us to estimate longer term health effects of interventions, integrate evidence on different exposures, consider ‘what if’ scenarios, and address issues of cost and cost-effectiveness. Modelling can also be used to investigate how behaviours might change in complex systems.
Modelling is also about providing local estimates of exposures and outcomes, and as such can provide detailed policy relevant evidence and tools.
Modelling studies can be cheaper and quicker than real world studies and do not require the intervention to actually be implemented. They can therefore support getting the best value from intervention studies and natural experiments. In health behaviour and impact modelling we combine evidence from many different primary studies plus insights from experts and other stakeholders, using simulation and sensitivity analysis to indicate where the greatest uncertainties lie.
For details on the modelling group’s project see here