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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor John Wainwright

Millington, J. & Wainwright, J. (2017). Mixed qualitative-simulation methods: understanding geography through thick and thin. Progress in Human Geography 41(1): 68-88.

Author(s) from Durham


Across geography there has been variable engagement with the use of simulation and agent-based modelling. We argue that agent-based simulation provides a complementary method to investigate geographical issues which need not be used in ways that are epistemologically different in kind from some other approaches in contemporary geography. We propose mixed qualitative-simulation methods that iterate back-and-forth between ‘thick’ (qualitative) and ‘thin’ (simulation) approaches and between the theory and data they produce. These mixed methods accept simulation modelling as process and practice; a way of using computers with concepts and data to ensure social theory remains embedded in day-to-day geographical thinking.