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Combining complexity-framed research methods for social research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jayne Carrick



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Research methods with roots in complexity science are increasingly popular in social research. However, they are not widespread and have potential to deliver value more fully and consistently to social research and methodology. One reason for this is that methods are often used alone, or only with traditional social research methods. We attempt to support and catalyse the use of complexity-framed methods in combination in social research, by systematically reviewing which methods framed in the language of complexity (not including traditional social research methods) have been combined, how, and why. We do this to make clear the state-of-the-art of combinations and to consider gaps and potential new combinations. We find many examples of different methods used together, with simulation methods well-represented. Most examples appear in recent years despite the methods, and interest in complexity, being around much longer. We identify four types of combination, seven purposes, and consider future directions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barbrook-Johnson P, Carrick J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Social Research Methodology

Year: 2022

Volume: 25

Issue: 6

Pages: 835-848

Online publication date: 10/07/2021

Acceptance date: 17/06/2021

Date deposited: 08/08/2023

ISSN (print): 1364-5579

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5300

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2021.1946118


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