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What next!

We briefly wrap-up what we’ve done during the whole course and point to some resources and paths useful to further explore modelling and simulations.
Girl hold a pen and purposefully looks at computer screen
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You have come to the end of the course. Well done!

Let’s revisit what you have learned. Within the course:

  • you explored why social processes are complicated and why it is hard to predict them
  • you put the stress on the way micro-behaviours lead to – often unexpected – results on a social level
  • you experienced how we can analyse social processes using models and simulations
  • at the same time you experienced how computational approach to study social behaviour works
  • you investigated a case study of a process of how a protest grows (or not) and what factors may be important to that process. You started with a simple threshold model and then worked with more advanced models: a networked model (Week 2) and a spatial model (Week 3)
  • you used a simulation in order to investigate a model of a protest that spreads spatially

This course is a part of an educational initiative Action for Computational Thinking in Social Sciences. This project is carried out by a strategic partnership formed by enthusiasts of modelling and simulations and opening-up education and included partners from Warsaw, Groningen and Berlin. It was co-funded by Erasmus+.

If you are interested in exploring Computational Social Sciences further (and we sincerely hope you do), we encourage you to:

  • visit the project website and learn more about the initiative;
  • try out our other courses, including Social Network Analysis and an upcoming course on game theory and socio-ecological models, titled Are we doomed to destroy our planet?
  • explore the approach further with the use of some handbooks on the Further reading list provided below.

If you are a student, we also encourage you to look for Computational Social Sciences courses, both within your educational institution and online (try looking for topics such as: computational models, computational social science, modelling and simulations, agent-based models or social network analysis).

If you are a teacher or academic teacher, we encourage you to use the materials from the course in your teaching (you can download the materials here. We’ll be very happy if you do!

If you’re interested in learning more about complex systems in general, it’s worth going to the Santa Fe Institute’s course called the Complexity Explorer.

If you want to play more with different simulations, whether related to social processes or to other domains, go to NetLogo models library and start exploring.

Further reading

We also recommend some books that explore both the complex nature of social world and how computational models can help better understand different social processes:

Micromotives and Macrobehavior Thomas C. Schelling

Simulation for the Social Scientist Nigel Gilbert, Klaus G. Troitzsch

Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling: with applications to social, ecological, and social-ecological systems Marco Janssen

Agent zero: Toward Neurocognitive Foundations for Generative Social Science Joshua M. Epstein

Thank you and good luck!

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People, Networks and Neighbours: Understanding Social Dynamics

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