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Simulations and Experiment in Social Sciences

2020/2021
Учебный год
ENG
Обучение ведется на английском языке
4
Кредиты
Статус:
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
2-й курс, 1 модуль

Преподаватель

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course covers two important (both in science and in practice), but underrepresented in traditional sociological curricula, research approaches: experiments and simulations in social science. This course provides a gentle introduction into computational Social Science, and some of its fascinating approaches. It starts with a discussion of change in the society with digitalisation, and shows how experiments might correspond to these new challenges. The theoretical part of the course introduces theoretical frameworks serving as the foundation of model building in social science. The practical part allows students to get hands-on experience with analytical techniques and tools of Computational Social Science with a focus on (web-) experiments, simulations and agent-based models. We will discuss and practice explanatory mechanism construction and get skills necessary to analyse human behaviour in contemporary social settings, including cases when natural experiments are impossible or inefficient. In addition, we will discuss applications of social experiments and simulations in applied settings, including web- and business analytics, and User eXperience, e.g. A/B and multivariate testing, field UX experiments, allowing students to see applications of research skills to real world settings. As a final project, students are expected to write a research proposal for the approach of their choice.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Choose an appropriate framework to analyse human decisions on micro and macro-level
  • Analyse, criticize and improve simple web- and agent-based designs of existing studies
  • Develop the explanatory mechanism on a phenomenon of interest
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Applies modern social research methods and models to study behavior, decision making and complex social phenomena using tools of computational social science
  • Formulates goals and research questions to observational, experimental and computational studies using modern tools of computational social science
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to methods of computational social science
  • Digital experiments
  • Simulation in Social Science: probabilistic simulation and ABM
  • Cases in simulation and experiments
    a. Survey experiments and A/B testing b. Probabilistic graphical models c. Agent-based modeling: Designing your first model
  • Simulation and Experimental Research in SocS
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class Participation2
  • non-blocking Advanced tasks
  • non-blocking Project proposal
    Written project proposal describes a study of any social phenomenon using one of the approaches discussed in the course of the student's choice. PP is targeted to develop student’s skills for critical thinking and written argumentation of ideas. An essay should include a clear statement of a research problem; include an analysis of the problem by using concepts and analytical tools within the subject that generalize the point of view of the author. Essay structure: 1. Introduction and formulation of a research question. 2. Body of the essay and theoretical foundation of selected problem and argumentation of a research question. 3. Justification of research approach and methods, and explanation of the pros and cons. 4. Design of a study with a connection of research questions to hypothesis and variables for the analysis. 5. Conclusion and argumentative summary about the research question and possibilities for further use or development. An effective response will contain 2000-2500 words and 1-3 illustrations. At the end of an essay students have to respond to comments from reviewers of a draft. The essay is written according to academic conventions, refers to 3 to 10 sources using Chicago Author-Date, APA or Harvard styles. The essay is submitted in a sequence of steps: With the first submission of the essay, a student completes self-evaluation of the essay according to these guidelines, checking if the proper response to each part of the task is provided. The student reviews at least two other works, assigned by the instructors and recommends improvements. All of the reviews should be marked completed according to peer review criteria before further proceeding. The first submission of the essay gets peer feedback and preliminary evaluation from instructors. If the essay complies with criteria for all parts (or with partial compliance with criteria for two of the parts and full compliance with all of the others), it can get a passing grade already at this stage. If the essay is graded as failed at this stage, the student can improve it according to the feedback, supplementing the essay with highlighted changes and a short (100-200 word) note describing their logic regarding suggested improvements. The final submission is graded again by the instructor. If the essay fails to comply with any criteria it gets a fail grade.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    <table> <tbody> <tr> <td>Grade</td> <td>Participation <br />in class <br />activities</td> <td>Advanced <br />tasks</td> <td>Project proposal</td> </tr> <tr> <td>10</td> <td>4</td> <td>4</td> <td>Passing grade for the project proposal, <br />passing grade for draft, passing grade for reviews</td> </tr> <tr> <td>9</td> <td>4</td> <td>4</td> <td>Passing grade for draft, passing grade for reviews</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8</td> <td>4</td> <td>3</td> <td>Passing grade for draft, passing grade for reviews</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7</td> <td>3</td> <td>3</td> <td>-</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6</td> <td>3</td> <td>2</td> <td>-</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5</td> <td>3</td> <td>-</td> <td>-</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>2</td> <td>-</td> <td>-</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3</td> <td>Less than 2</td> <td>-</td> <td>-</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>Less than 2</td> <td>-</td> <td>-</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1</td> <td>Less than 2</td> <td>-</td> <td>-</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Manzo, G. (2014). Analytical Sociology : Actions and Networks. Hoboken: Wiley. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=714658
  • Wilensky, U., & Rand, W. (2015). An Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling : Modeling Natural, Social, and Engineered Complex Systems with NetLogo. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=976350

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • MacKenzie, I. S. (2013). Human-Computer Interaction : An Empirical Research Perspective. Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=486557