Agent-based Modelling, a new kind of research

Fabian P. Held*, Ian F. Wilkinson, Robert E. Marks, Louise Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We discuss the use of Agent-based Modelling for the development and testing of theories about emergent social phenomena in marketing and the social sciences in general. We address both theoretical aspects about the types of phenomena that are suitably addressed with this approach and practical guidelines to help plan and structure the development of a theory about the causes of such a phenomenon in conjunction with a matching ABM. We argue that research about complex social phenomena is still largely fundamental research and therefore an iterative and cyclical development process of both theory and model is to be expected. To better anticipate and manage this process, we provide theoretical and practical guidelines. These may help to identify and structure the domain of candidate explanations for a social phenomenon, and furthermore assist the process of model implementation and subsequent development. The main goal of this paper was to make research on complex social systems more accessible and help anticipate and structure the research process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralasian Marketing Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)4-14
Publication statusPublished - 1. Feb 2014


  • Agent-based Modelling
  • Methodology
  • Model development
  • Modelling Cycle
  • Research process


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