Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science
Show Less

Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science

Theory and Applications

Edited by Eve Mitleton-Kelly, Alexandros Paraskevas and Christopher Day

This comprehensive Handbook is aimed at both academic researchers and practitioners in the field of complexity science. The book’s 26 chapters, specially written by leading experts, provide in-depth coverage of research methods based on the sciences of complexity. The research methods presented are illustratively applied to practical cases and are readily accessible to researchers and decision makers alike.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 2: Complex evolving social systems: unending, imperfect learning

Theory and Applications

Professor Peter Allen

Abstract

A methodology implies a purpose which here is to reveal and understand what patterns and structures exist in social systems and how, why and when they occur. In the natural sciences, we can perform repeatable experiments that allow us to find robust general laws by induction and make predictions about specific behaviour by deduction. In social systems, however, agents inhabiting a situation are really in co-evolution with each other and their environment, hence constantly changing over time. This makes induction for general laws much harder and predictions on the basis of deduction questionable. Complexity Science provides a ‘scientific’ basis for evolutionary, qualitative changes, revealing the impossibility of guaranteed prediction. We use several examples to show how complexity and evolution involve changing systems of changing elements – both qualitative and quantitative. Our interpretive frameworks (models) do not make predictions about the world but about themselves thus making, through reflexivity, evasive action more likely.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.


Further information

or login to access all content.