Biomedical Cybernetics

A theory is a structured, explanatory, abstract and coherent set of interconnected statements about a reality.[1]

In cybernetics, modelling is a constituent part of theory building.

Quality criteria[]

Criteria for assessing the quality of a theory include[1][2][3]:

  1. Refutability (ability to be falsified or supported)
  2. Importance (worth or significance)
  3. Precision and clarity (hypotheses can easily be developed from the theory)
  4. Parsimony and simplicity (limitation of complexity and assumptions to essentials)
  5. Comprehensiveness (covering the substantive areas of interest)
  6. Operationality (being specific enough to be testable and measurable)
  7. Validity (accurate representation of the real system under study)
  8. Reliability (being free from measurement errors)
  9. Fruitfulness (statements lead to insight and the development of new knowledge)
  10. Practicality (delivering conceptual frameworks for practical applications).


  1. 1.0 1.1 Schwaninger, Markus ; Grösser, Stefan N.: System Dynamics as Model-Based Theory Building. In: Systems Research and Behavioral Science 25 (2008), Nr. 4, S. 447-465.
  2. C. H. Patterson (1986), Theories of counseling and psychotherapy, New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 0060450533, 0060450533, 
  3. E. F. Holton, J. S. Lowe (2007). Toward a general research process for using Dubin's theory building model. Human Resource Development Review. 6(3): 297-320