Abstract The appropriate development of a model begins with understanding the problem that is being represented. The aim of this article was to provide a series of consensus-based best practices regarding the process of model conceptualization. For the purpose of this series of articles, we consider the development of models whose purpose is to inform medical decisions and health-related resource allocation questions. We specifically divide the conceptualization process into two distinct components: the conceptualization of the problem, which converts knowledge of the health care process or decision into a representation of the problem, followed by the conceptualization of the model itself, which matches the attributes and characteristics of a particular modeling type with the needs of the problem being represented. Recommendations are made regarding the structure of the modeling team, agreement on the statement of the problem, the structure, perspective, and target population of the model, and the interventions and outcomes represented. Best practices relating to the specific characteristics of model structure and which characteristics of the problem might be most easily represented in a specific modeling method are presented. Each section contains a number of recommendations that were iterated among the authors, as well as among the wider modeling taskforce, jointly set up by the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research and the Society for Medical Decision Making.
One central and enduring image of the social science researcher is of an individual who commits a great deal of time to collecting original, primary data from a field of enquiry. This approach is often underpinned by a sincerely held belief that key research questions can only be explored by the collection of ever new, and ever greater amounts of data, or that already existing data are insufficient for researchers to test their ideas. Yet such an approach to social science research can be problematic not least because the collection of primary data can be an expensive, time-consuming, and even wasteful approach to social enquiry. Secondary analysis can serve many purposes, as well as being a valid approach in its own right. However, despite its widespread application, secondary analysis is often undervalued or perceived to be the preserve of only those interested in the re-use of large-scale survey data. Highlighting both the theory and practice of secondary analysis and the use of secondary sources, this collection considers the nature of secondary analysis as a research tool; reflects on the definitional debates surrounding terms such as secondary analysis, data re-use and restudies; illustrates how secondary analysis is used in social science research; and finally reviews the practical, methodological and ethical aspects of secondary analysis. provides an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of secondary analysis in social research. covers the broad range of approaches adopted in quantitative secondary analysis research designs. focuses on qualitative research methods that offer the social researcher the opportunity to examine additional themes or explore new concepts and ideas in existing qualitative materials. critically evaluates the rise of social data archives and their role in current and future research and reflects upon the ethical dilemmas and pitfalls of using the data collected by others for new research.