Accessible and practical overview to help social reseachers make the most of information technology in relation to research design and selection, management and analysis of research data. The book pinpoints current and future trends in computer-assisted methods.; This book is intended for postgraduate and undergraduate social research methods courses and professional social researchers in sociology, social policy and administration, social psychology and geography. Particular appeal to courses in computer applications for social scientists and researchers.
Discrete event simulation and agent-based modeling are increasingly recognized as critical for diagnosing and solving process issues in complex systems. Introduction to Discrete Event Simulation and Agent-based Modeling covers the techniques needed for success in all phases of simulation projects. These include: • Definition – The reader will learn how to plan a project and communicate using a charter. • Input analysis – The reader will discover how to determine defensible sample sizes for all needed data collections. They will also learn how to fit distributions to that data. • Simulation – The reader will understand how simulation controllers work, the Monte Carlo (MC) theory behind them, modern verification and validation, and ways to speed up simulation using variation reduction techniques and other methods. • Output analysis – The reader will be able to establish simultaneous intervals on key responses and apply selection and ranking, design of experiments (DOE), and black box optimization to develop defensible improvement recommendations. • Decision support – Methods to inspire creative alternatives are presented, including lean production. Also, over one hundred solved problems are provided and two full case studies, including one on voting machines that received international attention. Introduction to Discrete Event Simulation and Agent-based Modeling demonstrates how simulation can facilitate improvements on the job and in local communities. It allows readers to competently apply technology considered key in many industries and branches of government. It is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as researchers and other professionals.
Agent-based modelling on a computer appears to have a special role to play in the development of social science. It offers a means of discovering general and applicable social theory, and grounding it in precise assumptions and derivations, whilst addressing those elements of individual cognition that are central to human society. However, there are important questions to be asked and difficulties to overcome in achieving this potential. What differentiates agent-based modelling from traditional computer modelling? Which model types should be used under which circumstances? If it is appropriate to use a complex model, how can it be validated? Is social simulation research to adopt a realist epistemology, or can it operate within a social constructionist framework? What are the sociological concepts of norms and norm processing that could either be used for planned implementation or for identifying equivalents of social norms among co-operative agents? Can sustainability be achieved more easily in a hierarchical agent society than in a society of isolated agents? What examples are there of hybrid forms of interaction between humans and artificial agents? These are some of the sociological questions that are addressed.
Computational modelling allows researchers to combine the rich detail of qualitative research with the rigour of quantitative and formal research, as well as to represent complex structures and processes within a theoretical model. After an introduction to modelling, the authors discuss the role of computational methods in the social sciences. They treat computational methods, including dynamic simulation, knowledge-based models and machine learning, as a single broad class of research tools and develop a framework for incorporating them within established traditions of social science research. They provide a concise description of each method and a variety of social science illustrations, including four detailed examples.
From Postgraduate to Social Scientist is essential reading for any postgraduate or new researcher who is interested in a career in the social sciences. The book describes the skills needed for success in moving from being a student to becoming an academic or professional social scientist. Written by experts in the field, Gilbert et al., this book offers a unique insider's view of how to make the transition. By adopting a clear and accessible approach, this book encourages students embarking on the journey towards becoming a social scientist to engage with every aspect of the process.
At last—a social scientist's guide through the pitfalls ofmodern statistical computing Addressing the current deficiency in the literature onstatistical methods as they apply to the social and behavioralsciences, Numerical Issues in Statistical Computing for the SocialScientist seeks to provide readers with a unique practicalguidebook to the numerical methods underlying computerizedstatistical calculations specific to these fields. The authorsdemonstrate that knowledge of these numerical methods and how theyare used in statistical packages is essential for making accurateinferences. With the aid of key contributors from both the socialand behavioral sciences, the authors have assembled a rich set ofinterrelated chapters designed to guide empirical social scientiststhrough the potential minefield of modern statisticalcomputing. Uniquely accessible and abounding in modern-day tools, tricks,and advice, the text successfully bridges the gap between thecurrent level of social science methodology and the moresophisticated technical coverage usually associated with thestatistical field. Highlights include: A focus on problems occurring in maximum likelihoodestimation Integrated examples of statistical computing (using softwarepackages such as the SAS, Gauss, Splus, R, Stata, LIMDEP, SPSS,WinBUGS, and MATLAB®) A guide to choosing accurate statistical packages Discussions of a multitude of computationally intensivestatistical approaches such as ecological inference, Markov chainMonte Carlo, and spatial regression analysis Emphasis on specific numerical problems, statisticalprocedures, and their applications in the field Replications and re-analysis of published social scienceresearch, using innovative numerical methods Key numerical estimation issues along with the means ofavoiding common pitfalls A related Web site includes test data for use in demonstratingnumerical problems, code for applying the original methodsdescribed in the book, and an online bibliography of Web resourcesfor the statistical computation Designed as an independent research tool, a professionalreference, or a classroom supplement, the book presents awell-thought-out treatment of a complex and multifaceted field.
In the spring on 2006, a workshop was held at Michigan State University to honour the career of A. Allan Schmid and his writings about how institutions evolve and how alternative institutions, including property rights, shape political relationships and impact economic performance. This edited book is the outcome of the workshop. It is a collection of original essays that explores several approaches to understanding the impact of alternative legal-economic institutions. The collection investigates questions such as: What are the similarities and differences among the various strands and approaches? Could parts of the different approaches be integrated to achieve greater insight into economic behaviour? Do different analytical problems require different approaches? Are the various strands of institutionalism actually saying the same things, but using different language and perspective? In gathering together authors who represent different approaches or strands of institutionalism, this book addresses several different issues such as transactions as the unit of observation, bounded rationality and learning, power issues embedded in the concept of efficiency, comparative empirical analysis, multiple equilibria and institutional diversity within a given environment, specification of institutional rules and structures, evolutionary perspectives, decentralized processes, and the significance of historical content.
Spatio-temporal Approaches presents a well-built set of concepts, methods and approaches, in order to represent and understand the evolution of social and environmental phenomena within the space. It is basedon examples in human geography and archeology (which will enable us to explore questions regarding various temporalities) and tackles social and environmental phenomena. Chapter 1 discusses how to apprehend change: objects, attributes, relations, processes. Chapter 2 introduces multiple points of view about modeling and the authors try to shed a new light on the different, but complementary approaches of geomaticians and thematicians. Chapter 3 is devoted to the construction of spatio-temporal indicators, to various measurements of the change, while highlighting the advantage of an approach crossing several points of view, in order to understand the phenomenon at hand. Chapter 4 presents different categories of simulation model in line with complexity sciences. These models rely notably on the concepts of emergence and self-organization and allow us to highlight the roles of interaction within change. Chapter 5 provides ideas on research concerning the various construction approaches of hybrid objects and model couplings.