Short Course: Understanding Complexity

shortcourse_sc25Understanding Complexity: A Simple Guide to Using & Developing ABM’s & Networks for Research

Liz Johnson
The Journal on Policy & Complex Systems & Policy Studies Organization

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This course is a must for those who want to add to their research toolkit, agent-based modeling and networks from complexity science. Research questions about parts, whole, and relationships will be transformed into dynamic models of systems, in simulation form. Complex, adaptive, and simple models will be demonstrated with participants developing skills to expand models. This course includes hands-on learning, simple step-by step methods, and interactive exercises in order gain the skills for understanding, conceptualizing, creating, developing, implementing, and analyzing policy and political science simulation models. This analytical tool can be used in addition to traditional triangulation strategies, to operationalize quantitative and qualitative variables, or a combination of both into simulation. NetLogo, a free downloadable popular programmable modeling program, will be used to develop elementary skills for direct application to political science and policy research. Participants will have the opportunity to practice the ease of changing system variables and parameters and analyze outputs. Additionally, participants will expand existing models through simple programming. The basics of how to program a new model will be presented. Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to access NetLogo and navigate basic areas like the models library of social science, interface, information, and procedures. Additionally, participants will be capable of planning, creating, building, and reporting the basics of an agent-based model. An in-depth course curriculum guide will be supplied for additional information and modeling resources.

**All Short Courses will take place on Wednesday, August 31 at the APSA 2016 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.