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 20: Employment of tools and models appropriate to complex, real-world situations

Patrick Beautement


To apply insights from complexity science to the real-world requires practitioners to judge which tools and methods are appropriate to use in some situations and when, where and how to apply them. This involves characterisation of complex situations; guidance on the type of adaptiveness needed; and understanding of the principles driving change. To that end, this chapter first provides a model of practice, and a framework for judging appropriateness of tools based on that model (with three examples of the framework in use). The chapter then offers a critique of two sets of example tools: examining the applicability of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems to a range of situations; and explaining how to employ multi-modal, multi-level influence networks to bring about ongoing change. Finally, the chapter presents a list of principles of practice, drawn from experience in the field, to be used to inform real-world decision- and policymaking.

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