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Title: Different Modelling Purposes
Authors: Edmonds, Bruce
Le Page, Christophe
Bithell, Mike
Chattoe-Brown, Edmund
Grimm, Volker
Meyer, Ruth
Montañola-Sales, Cristina
Ormerod, Paul
Root, Hilton
Squazzoni, Flaminio
First Published: 30-Jun-2019
Publisher: SimSoc Consortium
Citation: Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 2019, 22 (3), In Press
Abstract: How one builds, checks, validates and interprets a model depends on its ‘purpose’. This is true even if the same model code is used for different purposes. This means that a model built for one purpose but then used for another needs to be re-justified for the new purpose and we argue that this will probably mean it also has to be re-checked, re-validated and maybe even re-built in a different way. Here we review some of the different purposes for a model of complex social phenomena, focussing on seven in particular: prediction, explanation, description, theoretical exploration, illustration, analogy, and social learning. The paper looks at some of the implications in terms of the ways in which the intended purpose might fail. This analysis motivates some of the ways in which these ‘dangers’ might be avoided or mitigated. It also looks at the ways that a confusion of modelling purposes can fatally weaken modelling projects, whilst giving a false impression of their quality to others. These distinctions clarify some previous debates as to the best modelling strategy (e.g. KISS vs KIDS). The paper ends with a plea for modellers to be completely clear concerning exactly which purpose they are justifying their model against in each paper or presentation.
ISSN: 1460-7425
Links: TBA
Embargo on file until: 1-Jan-10000
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2019, SimSoc Consortium. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Sociology

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