University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Case-based methods and agent-based modelling: bridging the divide to leverage their combined strengths

Castellani, Brian, Barbrook-Johnson, Peter and Schimpf, Corey (2019) Case-based methods and agent-based modelling: bridging the divide to leverage their combined strengths International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 22 (4). pp. 403-416.

[img] Text
Case&AgentBasedMethodsFIN_accepted.docx - Accepted version Manuscript

Download (722kB)


Two leading camps for studying social complexity are case-based methods (CBM) and agent-based modelling (ABM). Despite the potential epistemological links between ‘cases’ and ‘agents,’ neither camp has leveraged their combined strengths. A bridge can be built, however, by drawing on Abbott’s insight that ‘agents are cases doing things’, Byrne’s suggestion that ‘cases are complex systems with agency’, and by viewing CBM and ABM within the broader trend towards computational modelling of cases. To demonstrate the utility of this bridge, we describe how CBM can utilise ABM to identify case-based trends; explore the interactions and collective behaviour of cases; and study different scenarios. We also describe how ABM can utilise CBM to identify agent types; construct agent behaviour rules; and link these to outcomes to calibrate and validate model results. To further demonstrate the bridge, we review a public health study that made initial steps in combining CBM and ABM.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Castellani, Brian
Schimpf, Corey
Date : 16 January 2019
Funders : Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
DOI : 10.1080/13645579.2018.1563972
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Social Research Methodology on 16/01/2019, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords : Social complexity; Case-based methods; Agent-based modelling; Qualitative comparative analysis; Simulation; Social research
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 01 Feb 2019 15:00
Last Modified : 17 Jul 2020 02:08

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800