ISSR Summer Methodology Workshops | Modeling Emergence: Computer Simulation as a Theory-Building Tool | James Kitts

Event date/time: 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 9:00am to 4:00pm
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 9:00am to 4:00pm
University of Massachusetts, Amherst | Dubois Library Room 1667

We regret that this workshop has been cancelled.

Description: 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.

Theorists use computer models to elucidate, extend, integrate and validate social theory. Policy analysts use computer models to predict outcomes of policy scenarios in complex and interactive domains. Managers use computer models to design efficient and robust organizational operations and implement effective interventions. This proliferation of simulation work has generated great interest in computer modeling methods, but few disciplinary departments presently offer general training in this area. This introductory workshop will allow attendees to understand some of the overall goals and methods of social simulation, give them hands-on experience in experimenting on models, and point them to resources to begin using these tools in their own work.

Instructor: James Kitts joined the UMass Department of Sociology in 2012 and serves as the Director of the Computational Social Science Institute. He has previously held faculty appointments at Columbia Business School (Management), Dartmouth College (Sociology), and the University of Washington (Sociology). He has taught computational modeling PhD seminars at Columbia, the University of Arizona, and the University of Washington, and has led modeling workshops for government agencies, universities and research institutes around the world. His research recently appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Psychology Quarterly and Demography.

Questions? For more information about this or any of the ISSR Summer Methodology Workshops, please contact ISSR Methodologist Jessica Pearlman (jpearlman@issr.umass.edu).


We regret that this workshop has been cancelled.

Five College Students and Faculty (UMass-Amherst, Hampshire College, Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College, and Amherst College only)

Five College Undergraduate and Graduate Students…………………………..$150 / person

Five College Faculty………………………………………………………………....$250 / person

Non-Five College Students and Faculty

Non-Five College Undergraduate and Graduate Students…………………………..$275 / person

Non-Five College Faculty………………………………………………………………....$400 / person

Registration note: Registration closes for each workshop 2 full business days prior to the start date. Payment of registration does not guarantee a spot in these space-limited workshops. ISSR will offer you the choice of placement on a wait-list or a refund for any workshops that are over-subscribed. To register by paying with departmental funds or personal checks, contact Karen Mason (mason@issr.umass.edu).

Cancellation note: In cases where enrollment is 5 or less, we reserve the right to cancel the workshop.  In cases where the registrant cancels prior to the workshop, a full refund will be given with two weeks notice, and 50% refund will be given with one week notice.  We will not be able to refund in cases where registrant does not notify us of cancellation at least one week prior to the beginning date of the workshop.