February 6, 2011

Modeling: insights from the pros

It's been a busy few weeks, so I've spent Super Bowl Sunday* catching up on the various blogs that I try to follow. A couple of posts from Andrew Gelman and Aleks Jakulin caught my eye: Why can't I be more like Bill James, or, The use of default and default-like models and the two-part Model Makers' Hippocratic Oath (Part 1 and Part 2).

All these posts are worth reading in their entirety, but they all boil down to the quote from George E.P. Box: "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." Knowing (or if you're the author, admitting) the limitations of the model is the most important to understanding how useful a model might be.

*Pitchers and catchers start reporting for spring training one week today!