9am - 5:45pm
Monday 11 March - Wednesday 13 March 2019

Complex Social Systems

Complexity social science represents an important new suite of methods that moves researchers beyond the traditional reliance on quantitative or qualitative approaches. This module introduces participants to complex social systems and the challenges of complexity social science and policy research

from £395.00 to £595.00

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, STAG HILL CAMPUS, UNIVERSITY OF SURREY, GUILDFORD, GU2 7XH
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Introduction

Complexity social science represents an important new suite of methods that moves researchers beyond the traditional reliance on quantitative or qualitative approaches. This module introduces participants to complex social systems and the challenges of complexity social science and policy research. The course introduces students to a range of methods to tackle these challenges, in particular focussing on methods to understand complex causality. Two methods are covered in particular: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Process Tracing/Bayesian Updating. Both methods will be introduced through real world case studies and situated within the research and policy process.

Course overview

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to Complex Social Systems
  • Causality in Complex Systems
  • Deep uncertainty and “wicked” problems
  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)
  • Process Tracing
  • Bayesian Updating
  • Narratives and Evidence
  • Social Science and Policy Research

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the challenge of complexity in the social sciences and policy research(C,P,T)
  • Be able to use QCA and Process Tracing/Bayesian Updating as methods in social science research (C,K,T,P)
  • Understand how QCA and Process Tracing/Bayesian Updating help elicit causality in complex social systems (C,K)

Key: C-Cognitive/Analytical; K-Subject Knowledge; T-Transferable Skills; P- Professional/ Practical

Course leader

Dr Elsenbroich is computational social scientist. Her main research interests are in methods development, in particular methods for complexity social science and methodological and epistemological aspects of agent-based modelling and social simulation. She is interested in understanding decision mechanisms, in particular collective decision-making and context dependency of decisions. 

Level of study

Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)

Costs

Varies according to status:

  • £595 - Government/commercial sector
  • £495 - Educational/charitable sector 
  • £395 - Students.

Preparatory reading

Byrne, D. and Callaghan, G., 2013. Complexity theory and the social sciences: The state of the art. Routledge.

Rihoux, B. and Ragin, C.C., 2009. Configurational comparative methods: Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) and related techniques. Sage.

Notes

Participants on the course will include some students completing the MSc in Social Research Methods

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