SMS-Social Modelling and Simulations
Debate 2: What can (what) data?
From experiments and empirical evidences to models and back
In mature and well established research fields in natural sciences, like condensed matter physics or cellular biology for example, the circular relation between models, experiments, and wildlife is somehow well defined and protocolized. On the other hand, this seems not to be the case nowadays when dealing with the application of formal mathematical or computational methods in the study of social complexity.
Questions to guide the discussion
❓ What are the unique characteristics of studying social processes, and how do they influence research practices in contrast to traditional natural sciences?
❓ In the pursuit of quantification, what are the limits? Are all aspects of interest of complex social phenomena measurable, or do certain elements defy quantification?
❓ To what extent can laboratory experiments mirror real-world social processes, and where do the limitations lie?
❓ In situations where lab experiments are impossible, can observational data alone be considered sufficient for meaningful insights?
❓ How does model validation in social modeling differ from validation in other experimental disciplines? What are the specificity and challenges?
❓ Can other fields of science use and learn from models that have been developed to understand social systems?
Online debate: how-to
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This debate will be open until December 10. It will then be temporarily paused to integrate insights from our in-person sessions. We will reopen the debate for further contributions once these updates are completed.
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