Symposium 2018

The 1st symposium on “Theory Development Through Agent-Based Modeling”  took place on July 4th-6th, 2018 in Hannover, Germany in the Herrenhaussen Palace Conference Center.

In this first meeting we discussed perspectives on and experiences with theory development using ABM. Short presentations and group discussions provided information about existing ABM studies that contributed to theory in the disciplines, their value, and their limitations. Researchers from Philosophy of Science added to this by transferring knowledge about models and theory development from an epistemological perspective.


We welcomed participants from diverse disciplines to this event.


In preparation of the first symposium, we disseminated questionnaires among the participants before the event to elicit positions and perceptions regarding theory development through ABM.

The survey provides insights into the awareness, attitude, and knowledge of the participants about the topic. The survey content will be integrated into the symposium, such as in the introduction session and discussions.

Download survey report (password protected)

Download questionnaire (password protected)

Group discussions

A major part of the first symposium were the group discussions. In small groups of about 10 people, we discussed questions  around theory development through ABM from interdisciplinary perspectives and formulated answers.

An overview of the discussions can be found here.

Further information

The abstracts of the talks provide an overview of the presentations.


All presentations that were held during the symposium may be downloaded here.

The presenters formulated 5 statements on theory development through ABM.

Relevant literature

Davis, J. P., Eisenhardt, K. M., & Bingham, C. B. (2007). Developing theory through simulation methods. Academy of Management Review32(2), 480-499. link

Smaldino, P. E., Calanchini, J., & Pickett, C. L. (2015). Theory development with agent-based models. Organizational Psychology Review5(4), 300-317. link

O’Sullivan, D., Evans, T., Manson, S., Metcalf, S., Ligmann-Zielinska, A., & Bone, C. (2016). Strategic directions for agent-based modeling: avoiding the YAAWN syndrome. Journal of land use science11(2), 177-187. link