Much quantitative social science and behavioral research has focused on identifying statistical relationships in cross-sectional data. While rigorous and tractable, this research typically assumes the objects of study are independent of one another, and thus assumes away the complex social processes that we hope to understand. Qualitative (ethnographic and comparative-historical) lenses have allowed us to view the social world as a web of interdependent and contingent processes, with macro-level cultures, communities and organizations emerging from and constraining the micro-level interactions of individuals, relationships and families. An explosion of recent work has used computer simulation to think systematically and rigorously about these complex social dynamics. Simulation research can offer rich, nuanced process models similar to qualitative work, but employs a rigorous, transparent and replicable framework that can be extended to other research contexts, similar to statistical approaches.
Fall is fast approaching and with it comes the NSF Fellowship application deadlines. ISSR, in collaboration with the UMass Graduate School, has pulled together an expert panel on maneuvering the NSF Fellowship application process. The panel will discuss everything from the resources available to you as a University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate student, to administrative logistics and student recipient advice. This event is highly recommended for first and second year graduate students. Please join us and bring your questions!