Author Archives: bruce

Special Session on Qual2Rule @ Social Simulation 2022, Milan September 12-16

As usual there will be a special session on “Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules in agent-based models” at the Social Simulation conference in 2022. The chairs are Melania Borit (UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway) and Bruce Edmonds (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK). This track welcomes any submission explicitly addressing the use of qualitative data in modelling and seeking to move from qualitative evidence towards simulation more systematically.

To submit a paper go to: (Deadline 1st June 2022)

For more about the conference see:

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there!

Upcoming Qual2Rule seminars

Upcoming using qualitative evidence for agent based modelling online seminars (all at 1pm CET):

  • February 1st – Jakub Bijak et al, University of Southampton, UK, “Capturing the complexity of human migration: Towards an interdisciplinary model-building process”. Sorry – today’s seminar is cancelled due to the illness of the authors. Hope to get them back later in the year!
  • March 1st – Martin Neumann, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, “Growing artificial cultures.”
  • April 5th – Amineh Ghorbani, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, “Modelling institutions to add social backbone to artificial societies”
  • May 3rd – session in SocSimFesT2022 – Social Simulation Festival 2022
  • June 7th – Sukaina Bharwani, Stockholm Environment Institute Oxford, UK, title to be announced
  • July & August – no seminar because of holiday time

If you want to be sent an invite to this email Melania Borit <>

Sara Mehyrar’s Slides from her talk on “Making Use of Mental models to Capture Human Adaptation Behavior”

Here are the slides from Sara’s talk on the 7th December 2021 as part of the regular Qual2Rule seminars. These were based on her work for her PhD.

More about Sara and her work at More details about her PhD at:

Seminars are at 1pm CET on the first Tuesday of each month – starting again in Feb 2022.

6th Workshop on Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence using Social Simulation, 15th March

The 6th workshop is being held online as part of the Social Simulation Festival 2021. For information about this, including registration (which is necessary but free) see

The agenda is as follows (all times in CET)

13:30-13:35     Intro
13:35-14:05     Grounded theory vs agent-based modelling, who will win? Debate by Cathy Urquhart & Bruce Edmonds, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
14:05-14:30     Plenary discussion based on Cathy & Bruce’s debate
14:30-15:00     Break-out rooms on pre-defined topics
15:00-15:15     Break
15:15-15:45     Plenary summing up of break-out room discussions
15:45-16:05     Answers to questions collected from the community
16:05-16:30     Fishbowl discussion
16:30-16:45     Next steps to consolidate the field

Online workshop: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence using Social Simulation, Tues 15th Sept 2020

Update (02.10.2020):

The slides used in the presentations held during this workshops can be downloaded from the links included in the program below.

The entire session has been recorded and is available here.


Workshop: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence using Social Simulation (Chairs: Melania Borit, UiT The Artic University of Norway & Bruce Edmonds, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom)

Topic: Agent-based simulation can be related to qualitative as well as quantitative data. For example, qualitative input might be used to inform the micro-level specification of agent behaviour in simulations that are then run and compared to aggregate quantitative data. However using qualitative data can seem daunting, partly because there are no established methods for doing this. The goal of this SSW2020 session is to discuss methods for integrating qualitative and quantitative data in agent-based models, with reference to worked examples.


10:00-10:05 Welcome

10:05-10:25 Bruce Edmonds (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) – “An introduction to using qualitative data for informing simulation design

10:25-10:55 Keynote speaker: Juliette Rouchier (Université Paris-Dauphine, France) – “Quali and quanti research walking hand in hand

10:55-11:00 Break

11:00-11:20 Stephanie Dornschneider (University College Dublin, Ireland) “Building bridges: Connecting ethnography to agent-based modelling

11:20-11:40 Martin Neumann (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany) – “Hermeneutic interpretation of simulation results

11:40-11:45 Break

11:45-12:05 Sukaina Bharwani (Oxford Centre, UK) – “Adding value to social simulation models using qualitative evidence

12:05-12:25 Patrycja Antosz (University of Groningen, The Netherlands) – “Juggling quant, qual and simulation: lessons learned in the SMARTEES project” [Co-author: Wander Jager]

12:25-12:45 Fishbowl discussion, moderator: Melania Borit (UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway)

12:45-13:00 Plan future events, moderators: Melania Borit and Bruce Edmonds

Besides registering for the Social Simulation Week 2020, please register for your participation in this workshop by September 10th using this link:

About the keynote:

Juliette Rouchier has been writing simulation models for the last 25 years, first working on individual learning and then on diffusion models. The first point she will make in her talk is general and concerns any scientific research, not just agent-based modelling (ABM): making a difference between qualitative research and quantitative is interesting, but conceptually poor, as they depend on each other all along the development of any theory / new knowledge. Examples can be given on the limitation of the separation. When it comes to ABM, another issue adds to this: in most cases, although one wants to take a qualitative approach, the need to use numbers is central – thus there is a dependence to numeric expression (and then, interpretation of numeric regularities has to be qualitative). Also what is of interest in ABM is to be able to practice numerous repetition with comparison – which is typically dealt with thanks to quantitative approaches. Examples will be used to show diverse processes that can take place there as well.

About the speakers:

Patrycja Antosz is a sociologist and a psychologist specializing in social scientific research methods and data analysis techniques. Since 2010 she has been working in cooperation with policy-makers and public administration at supra-national, national, and local levels to provide evidence for public policies. Her colleague, Wander Jager is a social scientist interested in social complex phenomena. A key theme in his work is studying the dynamics of human behaviour in environmental contexts. His scientific orientation is interdisciplinary, and his work is aimed at contributing to a societal transition towards a sustainable society.

Sukaina Bharwani:An interdisciplinary senior researcher at SEI Oxford, Sukaina has a background in social anthropology and computer science, which allows her to use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to understand drivers of behaviour and decision-making in the field of climate change adaptation.

Stephanie Dornschneider is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. Previously, she was Junior Research Fellow at Durham University and visiting fellow at Stanford University and the University of Oxford. Her research explores political resistance in the Middle East by combining qualitative and computational methods. She is the author of two monographs published by Oxford University Press and the University of Pennsylvania Press, and various articles, which have occurred in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Cognitive Science, and the International Political Science Review.

Bruce Edmonds is the director of the Centre for Policy Modelling and professor of social simulation at the Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Bruce’s research focuses on agent-based social simulation, including numerous applications, theory, methodology, and philosophy.

Martin Neumann: After studying social sciences, mathematics, and philosophy Martin obtained a PhD in Philosophy with a thesis on history of probability theory. Subsequently he awarded a postdoc scholarship on the epistemology of social simulation. Since then he worked in various social simulation projects, including projects on the theory of norms, norms in organized crime or on opinion dynamics. Currently Martin is research associate at the institute for sociology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. 

“Qualitative Data in the Service of Model Building: The Case of Structural Shirking” by Patrycja Antosz and Harko Verhagen


Abstract This chapter shows how qualitative data can inform building compu- tational models. The general issue is illustrated with the example of a model of structural shirking in organisations, i.e. insufficient time and effort stemming from the structure of the performed work. The first attempt to build a model of shirking with the use of assumptions present in social scientific theories displayed many shortcomings. Thus, a mixed-methods approach was chosen to inform the development of a second computational model. Conceptualising the second model began with performing individual IDIs with managers and lower-level employees and augmenting them with analyses of Polish legislation regulating employment relationships. Initial findings were enriched with theoretical assumptions. The complete concept of the mechanism of structural shirking was operationalised as a computational model. Having developed both models, we discuss the phenomenon of shirking informing theories and real-world practices, as well as ways to study these practices in novel forms.

Keywords Shirking · Work performance · Mixed methods · Empirical-based model · Theory-based model

In: H. Verhagen et al. (eds.), Advances in Social Simulation – looking in the mirror, Springer Proceedings in Complexity, pp. 33-45.

Available at:

3rd Workshop Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence using Social Simulation, 28-29 May 2020, Southampton, UK

On behalf of the Qual2Rule ESSA SIG organisers, I am happy to inform you the 3rd Workshop on Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence using Social Simulation will be organised in the period 28-29 May 2020, in Southampton, UK. This is a 2-day event following-up a 1st workshop organised in April 2019, at the Lorentz Centre, the Netherlands and a 2nd workshop organised in November 2019, at the Centre for Policy Modelling, MMU, UK.

The workshop will be preceded on the 27th of May by a half day public seminar/panel discussion simulation community outside our group on a topic to be announced in February.

There will be no charge for the workshop, but advance registration will be required. If you intend to participate in this workshop, please send an email to by the 29th of February. First-come, first-accepted principle applies.

Lunch & refreshments during breaks will be provided free of charge.

The main objectives of this workshop are:

  • to facilitate face to face interaction in order to continue or start collaboration on specific projects (focused publication, grant proposals,
  • journal special issue, further workshops etc.);
    to provide an arena where work progress,
  • results or preliminary drafts of work can be presented in order to receive feedback;
  • to further the strategical development of the field.

The venue details:

University of Southampton,
Highfield Campus, Building 100 (or Centenary Building) Room 5017,
Southampton SO17 1BJ

Travel information:

The nearest airport is Southampton Airport which is served by a direct UniLink bus U1C from in front of the airport to Highfield bus interchange which is 100 meters from Building 100.

The nearest train station is Southampton Airport Parkway, which is in front of the airport. Hence, it is served by the same bus U1C from the airport.

On a normal traffic, the bus journey takes about 20 minutes from the airport to Highfield campus.


If you have any questions or comments, please contact Melania (