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Workshop@SSC2017: Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules in modelling

Monday the 25th of September 2017. Duration: 90 minutes, @ Social Simulation Conference 2017, Dublin, Ireland. ESSA SIG Using qualitative data to inform behavioural rules.

Workshop: Qual2Rule – Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules in modelling

Date: Monday the 25th of September 2017

Duration: 90 minutes

Place: Social Simulation Conference 2017, Dublin, Ireland

Organised by: ESSA SIG Using qualitative data to inform behavioural rules

Contact: Melania Borit, University of Tromsø (UiT) – The Arctic University of Norway

Lecturers:

  • Martin Neumann*, Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany
  • Ulf Lotzmann**, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

Many academics consider qualitative evidence (e.g. texts gained from transcribing someone talking or observations of people) and quantitative evidence to be incommensurable. However agent-based simulations are a possible vehicle for bridging this gap. Narrative textual evidence often gives clues as to the in-context behavior of individuals and is thus a natural source for behaviors to inform the specification of corresponding agent behavior within simulations. They will not give a complete picture of this, but they will provide some of “menu” of behaviors that people use. During workshop we will focus on this qualitative side of the research, leaving aside the aspect of quantitative calibration and validation, which are already more familiar to traditional agent-based modelling approaches.

Agent-based social simulation is well-known for generative explanations. During the workshop we will provide a demonstration of a research process to extend the generative paradigm to interpretative research in cultural studies. We show how the research process facilitates interpretative research by growing artificial cultures. Relying on qualitative data for the development of agent rules, the research process combines several steps: Qualitative data analysis following the Grounded Theory paradigm enables concept identification, resulting in the development of a conceptual model of the concept relations. The software tool CCD is used in conceptual modelling which assists semi-automatic transformation in a simulation model developed in the simulation platform DRAMS. Both tools preserve traceability to the empirical evidence throughout the research process. Traceability enables interpretation of simulations by generating a narrative storyline of the simulation. Thereby simulation enables a qualitative exploration of textual data. The whole process generates a thick description of the subject of study. The simulation is characterized by a socio-cognitive coupling of agents’ reasoning on the state of the mind of other agents. This reveals a thick description of how participants make sense of the phenomenology of a situation from the perspective of their worldview.

During this workshop we plan to explain and practice several methods that help moving from qualitative evidence towards a simulation in a systematic way. A practical demonstration of software tools for text analysis, modelling and simulation will be provided. We show how the application of the software CCD and DRAMS facilitates the research process from qualitative data to agents and back to an exploration of the space of the cultural horizon that can be revealed in the qualitative data.

  • Martin Neumann, PhD, has studied philosophy, mathematics, and social sciences at the University of Osnabrueck, Germany and obtained a PhD in philosophy in 2002. Subsequently, he worked as lecturer for research methods and philosophy of social sciences at the department of social science at the University of Osnabrueck. Later, he joined the EU-FP 6 framework project EMIL on simulating norm emergence, where he worked at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He was assistant professor for sociological theory at RWTH Aachen University and, until recently, he undertook research at the EU-FP 7 project GLODERS, studying the global dynamics of extortion racket systems. Currently he is research associate at the Jacobs University, Bremen.
  • Ulf Lotzmann is researcher and PhD candidate at the University of Koblenz-Landau. He studied Computer Science at the University of Koblenz-Landau. After obtaining his degree he worked as project member in EMIL (Emergence In the Loop, FP6), in OCOPOMO (Open Collaboration for Policy Modelling, FP7), focussing mainly in simulation tool development. Subsequently he worked as a modeller of normative agent-based simulations within the GLODERS project (Global Dynamics of Extortion Racket System, FP7), as user-interface designer for agent-based simulation models (project at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL), and is currently also engaged as software developer of ICT solutions for cross-border public procurement in different EU projects (e-SENS – Electronic Simple European Networked Services, ESPDint – Interoperable ESPD and VCD services inside and between European Countries).