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Call for interest in participation in a Lorentz workshop on “Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence using Social Simulation”

Call for expression of interest
Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence Using Social Simulation
A proposal for a NIAS-Lorentz Workshop

It is a principle of science that evidence should not be ignored without an extremely good reason. Thus, researchers are under an obligation to take note of both qualitative and quantitative evidence. However, integrating different kinds of evidence is far from easy, as both kinds of evidence have their own characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. As such, translations between qualitative and quantitative representations is fraught with traps, including the inclusion of hidden assumptions, the addition of systematic bias and cross-context misapplication. However, agent-based social simulation offers a well-founded way of doing this translation by using narrative accounts to inform the specification of agent behaviour and comparing macro-level measures on runs of the simulation with numerical data. In this approach, the simulation forms a kind of bridge between the micro-level qualitative behaviours and the macro-level aggregate outcomes. Following a special issue on this topic in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation ( and several sessions at the Social Simulation Conference (2014, 2016, 2017), we feel that there is the time to get together researchers who are (or want to) contribute to this endeavour, in order to design a strategy for structuring and developing the field. We would like to gather these researchers together for a NIAS-Lorentz Workshop ( during which we will: identify the key challenges, difficulties, and opportunities of the field; design an action plan to address these challenges and difficulties and follow the opportunities; exchange practices and identify possible collaborations; establish a strategy for consolidating the nascent community of academics in this topic.

Target Dates for Workshop
We would like the workshop to happen during the period 06-10 May 2019, with possible alternatives 19-23 August 2019 and 02-06 September 2019 (dates might change depending on the availability of the venue).

NIAS-Lorentz Workshops
Lorentz workshop ( are very special and highly productive events where a group of (in this case 25) people interact over a whole week. Thus it is essential that participants stay for the duration. Usually various papers, grant proposals and other collaborations come out of these workshops.

The Costs etc
Lunches, tea/coffee, the evening welcome reception and workshop dinner are all provided. There is a deal for a local nice hotel at €85 a night. There will be some monetary support for early stage researchers who can not otherwise afford this (hotel + up to €300 travel).

What you have to do
If you wish to attend you need to write a few paragraphs explaining your relevant research, position and interest in this topic.  Please send this to Melania Borit <> by the 283rd May.


  • (Coordinator) Melania Borit, Associated professor of Social Simulation and Game-Based Learning, at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, UiT (University of Tromsø) – The Arctic University of Norway, Norway.
  • Stephanie Dornschneider, Assistant professor, University College Dublin, Ireland,
  • Bruce Edmonds, Director of the Centre for Policy Modelling and Professor of Social Simulation, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
  • Magnús Josefsson, Research Program Manager, Reykjavik SMART City, Iceland,
  • Sarah Mehryar, PhD candidate, University of Twente, the Netherlands,
  • Nanda Wijermans, Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden.

Qual2Rule papers at Social Simulation 2017 in Dublin 2017

We were very pleased to have papers for two sessions at the Social Simulation Conference 2017 in Dublin (where we have had mostly good weather so far!). The papers are:

  • The Venezuelan System of Potato Production: a simulation model to understand roots of deficienciesOswaldo Terán, Christophe Sibertin-Blanc, Ravi Rojas, and Liccia Romero
  • Qualitative Data in the Service of Model Building — the Case of Structural Shirking — Patrycja Antosz and Harko Verhagen
  • A simulation model for assessing social empowerment: the case of the Southern Rural
    Territory of Sergipe, BrazilMarcos A. S. d. Silva and Pascal Roggero

Extended abstracts available within:

  • An Empirically Informed Practice-centric Approach to Model Demand Response in HouseholdsKavin Narasimhan, Nigel Gilbert and Aimie Hope
  • WHETHER TO PROTEST. A computational analysis of mobilization for the Arab
    SpringStephanie Dornschneider
  • Ontological politics in a world of political ontologiesLia ní Aodha.

Extended abstracts available within:


2 PhD studentships for attending Qual2Rule @ SSC, Dublin, Sept. 2017

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

Scholarships: Two scholarships, each of maximum 500 euro, are awarded to cover transport and accommodation costs in connection with this workshop for young researchers in the field of using qualitative data to inform agent-based models. The two scholarships are awarded on competitive basis. Send your CV, letter or interest, and short description of your research project to Melania Borit ( by the 31st of May 2017. The final decision will be taken by mid-June 2017.

Special section of JASSS published on “Using Qualitative Evidence to Inform the Specification of Agent-Based Models”!

This special issue of JASSS is now published! See ( for a more permenant but less nicely formatted link).

The introduction to the special issue is:

Using Qualitative Evidence to Inform the Specification of Agent-Based Models by Bruce Edmonds (The introduction to the issue at:


  • Grounded Simulation by Martin Neumann
  • Structuring Qualitative Data for Agent-Based Modelling by Amineh Ghorbani, Gerard Dijkema and Noortje Schrauwen
  • From Participants to Agents: Grounded Simulation as a Mixed-Method Research Design by Ozge Dilaver
  • Heads and Hearts: Three Methods for Explicating Judgment and Decision Processes by Warren Thorngate
  • Exploring Transitions Towards Sustainable Construction: The Case of Near-Zero Energy Buildings in the Netherlands by Jesús Rosales-Carreón and César García-Díaz
  • Identifying Salient Drivers of Livelihood Decision-Making in the Forest Communities of Cameroon: Adding Value to Social Simulation Models by Sukaina Bharwani, Mònica Coll Besa, Richard Taylor, Michael Fischer, Tahia Devisscher and Chrislain Kenfack
  • Interactive Simulations with a Stylized Scale Model to Codesign with Villagers an Agent-Based Model of Bushmeat Hunting in the Periphery of Korup National Park (Cameroon) by Christophe Le Page, Kadiri Serge Bobo, Towa Olivier William Kamgaing, Bobo Fernanda Ngahane and Matthias Waltert
  • A Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis of Narrative Data to Aid the Specification of Agent Behaviour by Bruce Edmonds

Papers at the “Qual2Rule” session at Social Simulation 2014 in Barcelona

15:00 [603] ESSA, SIG-Qual2Rule: Using QUAL Data, Chair: M. Borit

15:00 [603] Mieczyslaw Metzger and Piotr Skupin: “Human-in-the-loop simulation based system for more effective allocation and training of experimenters’ groups in stimulation of biotechnological processes” #11

15:30 [603] Roman Seidl: “Social Scientists, Qualitative Data, and Agent-Based Modeling” #21

16:00 [603] Syed Muhammad Ali Abbas, Rachel Aldred, Zaid Chalabi and James Woodcock: “Use of an agent-based model to explore urban transitions in commuter cycling” #57

16:30 [603] Annalisa Stefanelli and Roman Seidl: “Moderate and Polarized Opinions. Using Empirical Data for an Agent-Based Simulation” #14

17:30 [603] ESSA, SIG-Qual2Rule: Using QUAL Data

17:30 [603] Jose Antonio Noguera, Antonio Parravano, Paula Hermida and Jordi Tena-Sanchez: “Simulating Social Influence Dynamics From Observational Data: The Case Of Secessionist Flags in Barcelona’s Balconies” #48

18:00 [603] Martin Neumann and Ulf Lotzmann: “From evidence to criminal agents: Modelling the collapse of a criminal network” #71

18:30 [603] Gary Polhill, Nick Gotts, Amparo Alonso-Betanzos, Noelia Sanchez-Maroño, Oscar Fontenla-Romero, Tony Craig and Ricardo Garcia-Mira: “Qualitative spatial representation in agent-based models” #120

Papers from the ESSA 2013 track on “Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules”

Some were published in:

Kamiński, Bogumił; Koloch, Grzegorz (Eds.) (2013) Advances in Social Simulation: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the European Social Simulation Association.  Springer.

Links of these papers are given to SpringerLink, others a direct pdf is provided with permission of the authors, who retain copyright in these cases.

Session 1:

Session 2:

Session 3:

Session 4:

Reminder: 15th October Deadline for submission to the special issue of JASSS on this topic!

Special issue/section of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) on: “Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules

In other words, unpublished (note 1) reports on approaches that start with qualitative data (in some form) and attempts to use this to inform the specification of an agent-based simulation.  We recognise that this is very much an open issue, and thus we are open to contributions from many different fields that would contribute to parts of this project.  However, we particularly value papers with a well-described method that is illustrated with specific examples, going from the qualitative data all the way to some rule or other code that forms part of a simulation (or could do so) with some assessment of the method’s pros and cons.

Deadline: 15th October 2013

Submission instructions: Do not submit to JASSS but to this easychair site:

Please read and note the instructions for formatting the document that are at:

Any queries or difficulties, please contact me, Bruce Edmonds <>

Note 1: Papers that were published in conference proceedings (e.g. ESSA 2013) are acceptable if expanded, revised and updated.  Attendees of the special track of ESSA on this topic are expected to take comments and discussion into account.

List of Accepted Papers for the track @ ESSA 2013 on “Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules”

The accepted papers to be orally presented at ESSA 2013, in no particular order:

  • Martin Neumann. Grounded Simulation
  • Tilman Schenk. Generating an agent based model from interviews and observations: procedures and challenges
  • Javier Alvarez-Galvez. Agent-Based Decision Support System for Studying Health System Efficiency
  • Elizabeth Carabine. Narratives of a drought: exploring resilience in Kenya’s drylands
  • Emma Norling. An Approach to Capturing Cognitive Processes
  • Bruce Edmonds. Towards a Context- and Scope-Sensitive Analysis for Specifying Agent Behaviour
  • Ozge Dilaver Kalkan. A Grounded Simulation of Early Adoption Advantages During Diffusion of Innovations
  • Magnus Josefsson. Interpreting the conundrum of social mechanisms: Insights from grounded theory
  • Amineh Ghorbani, Noortje Schrauwen and Gerard Dijkema. Using Ethnographic Information to Conceptualize Agent-based Models
  • Nicolas Gailliard, Olivier Barreteau and Richard-Ferroudji Audrey. Participatory policy making in practice: simulating boundary work in water governance
  • Pablo Lucas. An Adaptation of the Ethnographic Decision Tree Modeling Methodology for Developing Evidence-Driven Agent-Based Models
  • Jesus Rosales-Carreon and Cesar Garcia-Diaz. Using Qualitative Data To Explore Knowledge Transfer Scenarios In Agent-Based Models: The Case Of Zero-Energy Buildings
  • Sukaina Bharwani, Richard Taylor, Tahia Devisscher, Monica Coll Besa and Michael Fischer. What drives decision-making on livelihood options in the forest communities of Cameroon?
  • Frank Schiller, Anne Skeldon, Tina Balke, Michelle Grant, Alexandra Penn, Lauren Basson, Paul Jensen, Nigel Gilbert, Ozge Dilaver Kalkan and Amy Woodward. Defining relevance and finding rules: an agent-based model of biomass use in the Humber area
  • Serge Bobo Kadiri and Christophe Le Page. Raising the awareness of local populations about the sustainability of bushmeat hunting through the incremental introduction of an agent-based model. A case study in the region of Korup National Park (Cameroon)
  • Armando Geller, Seyed Mussavi Rizi and Maciej Latek. EFMAS: Elicitation Framework for Multiagent Systems
  • Krzysztof Kulakowski, Piotr Gronek and Antoni Dydejczyk. Discrete Chaos In Everyday Life