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This is an ESRC Seminar Series (2014-2017) co-organised by Dr Emma Uprichard (PI, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, Warwick, UK), Professor David Byrne (Durham University, UK) and Professor Brian Castellani (Kent State University, USA).

Overall aims

  • To create an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the methodological challenges of applying complexity to social science research problems;

  • To develop a mixed-methods toolkit to more effectively model complex social systems;

  • To improve complex systems methodological pedagogy of social science students by:

    • Developing a set of pedagogical and policy recommendations relating to complexity related research methods;

    • Providing feedback to the Nuffield/ESRC/HEFCE funded Q-Step Centres.

Key methodological questions

  • How do we capitalize on big data and real-time data for complexity social science research?

  • How might we describe and explain patterns of change and continuity through time and space, and, importantly, how to do this whilst also accounting for a dynamic context?

  • Conversely, how do experiences and processes of time, temporality, space and place impact on the possibilities of change and continuity?

  • How might we explore causality in complex social systems for policy planning and intervention?

  • How can we bridge quantitative, qualitative and computational methods to better understand complex social systems empirically (e.g. via government surveys, public and commercial transactional data, neural nets, agent-based models, clustering techniques, network analysis, geographical modeling, visual complexity, case-based modeling, qualitative narratives etc.)?

  • How might we bring together different epistemological approaches to researching complexity in general, and conduct better inter- and multi-disciplinary complexity social science specifically?