Operational research (OR) is a systematic approach to the study of complex problems in business, industry, and organizations. It involves the use of analytical techniques, such as mathematical modeling and computer simulations, to identify and evaluate potential solutions to problems that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.

The process of conducting an OR study typically consists of several phases, each of which plays a crucial role in the overall research process. These phases include:

Problem definition: The first phase of an OR study involves clearly defining the problem that needs to be addressed. This involves identifying the specific goals and objectives of the study, as well as the constraints and limitations that may impact the solution. It is important to ensure that the problem is clearly understood and that all relevant information has been gathered before moving on to the next phase.

Data collection: In this phase, data is collected and analyzed in order to better understand the problem and identify potential solutions. This may involve collecting data from various sources, such as surveys, experiments, and simulations. It is important to ensure that the data is accurate and reliable in order to make informed decisions.

Model development: The next phase involves the development of a mathematical or computational model that represents the problem and can be used to evaluate potential solutions. This may involve developing equations, algorithms, or computer simulations to represent the problem and test different solutions.

Solution evaluation: Once a model has been developed, it can be used to evaluate potential solutions to the problem. This may involve analyzing the results of different scenarios, comparing the outcomes of different solutions, and assessing the trade-offs associated with each option.

Recommendation and implementation: Based on the results of the solution evaluation, the OR team will make recommendations for the most effective solution. The final phase of the study involves implementing the chosen solution and monitoring its performance to ensure that it is meeting the goals and objectives of the study.

Overall, the phases of an OR study are designed to provide a systematic and analytical approach to problem-solving, with the goal of improving efficiency and effectiveness in business, industry, and organizations. By following a structured process and using analytical techniques, OR can help organizations make informed decisions that lead to improved performance and success.