Epistemological Framework for Computer Simulations in Building Science Research: Insights from Theory and Practice
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Computer simulations are widely used within the area of building science research. Building science research deals with the physical phenomena that affect buildings, including heat and mass transfer, lighting and acoustic transmission. This wide usage of computer simulations, however, is characterized by a divergence in thought on the composition of an epistemological framework that may provide guidance for their deployment in research. This paper undertakes a fundamental review of the epistemology of computer simulations within the context of the philosophy of science. Thereafter, it reviews the epistemological framework within which computer simulations are used in practice within the area of building science research. A comparison between the insights obtained from the realms of theory and practice is made, which then interrogates the adequacy of the epistemological approaches that have been employed in previously published simulation-based research. These insights may help in informing a normative composition of an adequate epistemological framework within which computer simulation-based building science research may be conducted.