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Building and using a model entail a set of related activities. Input data must be collected; the model itself must be precisely specified and constructed; and a method of interpreting the results must be developed. In engineering and the "hard" sciences these processes can be fairly straightforward, but when the domain of the model is sociopolitical or economic, or both, they are considerably more difficult. This report is derived from experience with energy and environmental modeling performed at RAND during 1978 and 1979 as part of a continuing program for the Department of Energy. The perspectives of modeling from both technical and institutional viewpoints should be useful for analysts working in any area characterized by uncertain information.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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