Prospects and Challenges for the Computational Social Sciences.

Giangiacomo Bravo, Mike Farjam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Computational social sciences (CSS) refer to computer-enabled investigations of human behaviour and social interaction. They include three main components - (i) computational modelling and social simulation, (ii) the analysis of digital traces of online interactions, (iii) virtual labs and online experiments - and allow researchers to perform studies that were even hard to imagine a few decades ago. Moreover, CSS favour a more systematic test of theories and increase the possibility of study replication, two factors holding the potential to help social sciences reach a higher scientific status. Despite the huge potential of CSS, we follow previous works in identifying several impediments to a larger adoption of computational methods in social sciences. Most of them are linked with the humanistic attitude and a lack of technical skills of many social scientist. Significant changes in the basic training of social scientist and in the relation patterns with other disciplines and departments are needed before the potential of CSS can be fully exploited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1069
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Universal Computer Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology

Free keywords

  • big data
  • computational social sciences
  • experiments
  • social simulation
  • sociology


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