In science, the term model can mean several different things (e.g., an idea about how something works or a physical model of a system that can be used for testing or demonstrative purposes). However, as a research method, modeling often means creating a mathematical model — a set of equations that indirectly represents a real system. These equations are based on relevant information about the system and on sets of hypotheses about how the system works. Given a set of parameters, a model can generate expectations about how the system will behave in a particular situation. A model and the hypotheses it is based upon are supported when the model generates expectations that match the behavior of its real-world counterpart. Modeling often involves idealizing the system in some way — leaving some aspects of the real system out of the model in order to isolate particular factors or to make the model easier to work with computationally.
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