A Methodology to Develop Agent-Based Models for Policy Design in Socio-Technical Systems Based on Qualitative Inquiry

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Agent-based models (ABM) for policy design need to be grounded in empirical data. While many ABMs rely on quantitative data such as surveys, much empirical research in the social sciences is based on qualitative research methods such as interviews or observations that are hard to translate into a set of quantitative rules, leading to a gap in the phenomena that ABM can explain. As such, there is a lack of a clear methodology to systematically develop ABMs for policy design on the basis of qualitative empirical research. In this paper, a two-stage methodology is proposed that takes an exploratory approach to the development of ABMs in socio-technical systems based on qualitative data. First, a conceptual framework centered on a particular policy design problem is developed based on empirical insights from one or more case studies. Second, the framework is used to guide the development of an ABM. This step is sensitive to the purpose of the model, which can be theoretical or empirical. The proposed methodology is illustrated by an application for disaster information management in Jakarta, resulting in an empirical descriptive ABM.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Social Simulation - Proceedings of the 16th Social Simulation Conference
EditorsMarcin Czupryna, Bogumił Kamiński
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-92843-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-92842-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Complexity
ISSN (Print)2213-8684
ISSN (Electronic)2213-8692

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Agent-based modeling
  • Disaster Management
  • Information management
  • qualitative methods
  • Exploratory research
  • Indonesia


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