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Computational social science is an approach increasingly influential in a broad range of social sciences. It involves building a computer program model that represents a theory and then 'executing' the program and observing the output as a way of validating the theory, making predictions about the social world or exploring the implications of social interventions. Computational social science has been proposed as a 'third way', standing beside quantitative mathematical and formal approaches and qualitative, interpretative approaches. Computational methods have been used in fields as diverse as political science and environmental resource management. They are becoming popular in some areas of economics, in science and innovation policy, in social psychology, in voting and opinion studies, in marketing and consumer behavior and in anthropology. Computational Social Science, a four volume set republishes the key articles in the emerging field of computational social science. Because of the widespread use of computational approaches throughout the social sciences, the literature is very widely dispersed. Many papers are of interest far outside their original disciplines, because of the methods they use and the theories they develop have broad ranging application. Some of the literature is hard to locate, published in conference proceedings and edited collections without a wide circulation.
Posted June 5, 2013