Research methodologies include various methods for carrying out the research to study, analyze and conclude on various topics of interest. These methods can be quantitative or qualitative depending upon the requirement and the area of research. In simulation based research real world scenarios or processes are modeled into computer software. Firstly a model has to be developed for the process or phenomenon to be investigated and then the simulation method for the same is developed. There has to be a logical theory behind the model so as to link it with the simulation method to develop codes for computer software. The simulation model then created is run numerous times under varying conditions and parameters so as to observe the associated changes in the outcome. Simulation is a useful research tool apart from its use in areas like teaching, entertainment etc. Simulation can be used for the formulation of theory to predict results and for better understanding of the area of interest. Computer simulations are often very precise to validate the theoretical model for its completeness and coherency. Mathematical model on the other hand fails to associate various variables involved in the study of a concept and only focuses on the mechanism and processes involved, whereas computer simulation has this advantage over the mathematical modeling. Simulation based research has a wide scope of application in diverse areas like healthcare, logistics and production systems and networking.
The basic steps in a simulation based study starts with formulating a set of questions to be answered by the simulation outcome. Then the design of the model and the selection of the appropriate simulation method is carried out. Simulation design can include things like collecting data, choosing parameters and the initial conditions. Building the simulation model is the next step which can be done with the help of a number of software packages available for the specific simulation method. However, one may have to write the codes himself if the required software is not available. The model is then verified through various test runs being done by changing the parameters to check if the model is working or not. The model can also be validated by comparing the results obtained with the empirical data available for that particular process. A conclusion is thus formed based on the finding obtained so as to find probable answers to the research questions.
Simulation based research method has the advantage over conventional means where certain phenomena are hard to investigate. When the empirical data are available in a limited quantity the simulation method can be used to show the results of processes interacting over time.