Simulation for the Social Scientist

By Nigel Gilbert; Klaus G. Troitzsch | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 1
Simulation and social science

Using computer simulation in the social sciences is a rather new idea although the first examples date from the 1960s, simulation only began to be used widely in the 1990s but one that has enormous potential. This is because simulation is an excellent way of modelling and understanding social processes.

This book has been written for social scientists interested in building simulations. All research should be theoretically informed, methodologically sophisticated and creative. These qualities are especially necessary when doing simulations because the field is only about 20 years old, so there are no well-established traditions to rely on, and there are a wide variety of approaches to simulation from which to choose. One additional skill needed by the researcher wanting to use simulation is some facility in using computers (all simulations nowadays are run on computers). It helps to know how to write simple programs, although the first half of this book does not demand any programming knowledge at all, and the second half needs only a beginner’s level of skill.

Simulation introduces the possibility of a new way of thinking about social and economic processes, based on ideas about the emergence of complex behaviour from relatively simple activities (Simon 1996). These ideas, which are gaining currency not only in the social sciences but also in physics and biology, go under the name of complexity theory (see, by way of introduction, Waldrop 1992). However, we do not consider the theoretical implications of simulation in any depth in this book although there are frequent references to the theoretical foundations. Instead, the book

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Simulation for the Social Scientist
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 295

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?