Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science
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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.
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Chapter 18: Multilevel systems and policy

Professor Jeffrey Johnson, Professor Joyce Fortune and Dr Jane Bromley


Making multilevel systems well-defined is essential for the implementation of computer models to investigate the multilevel consequences of policy. This chapter shows that systems thinking can provide practical guidance to those building models of complex multilevel social systems in order to inform policymaking. Part–whole aggregation and taxonomic aggregation are described as methods of representing multilevel structure, and it is shown how they are interleaved in the construction of vocabulary to describe multilevel systems. This enables complex nested structures to be represented as a kind of backcloth that supports patterns of aggregate and disaggregate numbers that describe the day-to-day traffic of people, resources and responsibility that are essential for systems to function.

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