The link between experimental data and biophysically based mathematical models is key to computational simulation meeting its potential to provide physiological insight. However, despite the importance of this link, scrutiny and analysis of the processes by which models are parameterised from data are currently lacking. While this situation is common to many areas of physiological modelling, to provide a concrete context, we use examples drawn from detailed models of cardiac electro-mechanics. Using this biophysically detailed cohort of models we highlight the specific issues of model parameterization and propose this process can be separated into three stages: observation, fitting and validation. Finally, future research challenges and directions in this area are discussed.