Dr Edmund Chattoe Brown

Lecturer in Sociology

School/Department: School of Media Communication and Sociology

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2737



My education was interdisciplinary including chemistry, politics, philosophy, economics and Artificial Intelligence. My fundamental interest has become what makes good research independent of the prejudices and customs of particular disciplines: How different approaches to data collection and analysis can deliver the best knowledge they are capable of and how these can be combined through good research design or methodological innovation. This has led to a particular interest in the development of a computer simulation technique called Agent-Based Modelling, combining the rigour of quantitative methods with some of the richness of qualitative approaches, and with a distinctive contribution to make in integrating different data types. My specific aim has to been to make Agent-Based Modelling both more empirical and more usable in meeting social science challenges. At the same time, I have developed substantive interests in decision making, social networks, innovation diffusion, social evolution, second hand markets and more recently health. My research remains highly interdisciplinary and I have also worked with colleagues in law, economics, medicine, psychology and anthropology.


I have been involved in externally funded research throughout my career. With Nigel Gilbert (University of Surrey) I received ESRC funding to model the money management strategies of pensioners and to organise a node in the National Centre for Research Methods on Agent-Based Modelling (both doing research and offering training). I received a Nuffield Foundation Career Development Fellowship with Anthony Heath (University of Oxford) to model the labour market position of ethnic minorities and have also been involved in projects to look at the social network structure of arbitration (ESRC), antibiotic prescribing behaviour and the ensuing risks of antimicrobial resistance (ESRC), improving and making more empirical models of opinion and attitude change (ORA) and the role of supply chains in the problems of substandard and falsified medicines in Africa (MRC).


Why Questions Like “Do Networks Matter?” Matter to Methodology: How Agent-Based Modelling Makes It Possible to Answer Them

Different Modelling Purposes

Optimizing Antibiotic Prescribing: Collective Approaches to Managing a Common-Pool Resource

'Developing Agent-Based Models of Complex Health Behaviour

Models of Social Influence: Towards the Next Frontiers

Using Agent Based Modelling to Integrate Data on Attitude Change

Why Sociology Should Use Agent Based Modelling

Using Simulation to Develop and Test Functionalist Explanations: A Case Study of Dynamic Church Membership

It's Not Who You Know - It's What You Know About People You Don't Know That Counts: Extending the Analysis of Crime Groups as Social Networks

Just How (Un)realistic are Evolutionary Algorithms as Representations of Social Processes?


I am keen to supervise students in topics related to decision making (including sociologically relevant applications of rational choice and game theory), empirical applications of middle range theories of all kinds Agent-Based Modelling (and simulation more generally), social network analysis, second hand/illegal markets, evolutionary models of social change (exploring how practices may or may not reproduce themselves through selection in a social 'environment'), drug use, crime networks and innovation diffusion. My main methodological expertise is in qualitative methods and simulation but I have working knowledge of other methods like experiments and time diaries and am particularly keen on innovative research designs.


I regular teach research methods at all levels from undergraduate to doctoral. I have also taught Work and Employment, Class and Inequality and Professional Skills among other things. I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations and PhD students.

Press and media

My main general expertise is in evaluating evidence and effective research designs to produce justified knowledge. However I am also knowledgeable about second hand markets, computer modelling (simulation), decision making and social networks.


I was one of the founders of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation ( This journal is entirely free online and had an impact factor of 2.222 in 2019 (and now serving about 250,000 pages a month). More recently I have been involved in the setting up of the Review of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (, a novel hybrid publishing outlet designed to allow rapid and permanent citation of materials that do not fit the normal formats of journals.
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