AnaGramm at ESRA 2015 in Reykjavik

The researchers of AnaGramm will host a session on “Multilevel survey research, agent based modeling and social mechanisms: towards new frontiers in theory-based empirical research” at the conference of the European Association for Survey Research (ESRA) taking place 13-19 July 2015 in Reykjavik.

Session program


A closer look at the relation between religiosity and formal volunteering. A cross-regional analysis using Swiss data 

(Ms Elena Damian)

[1 \/]
Middle-range theories, moderator models and marginal effects: What does sour grapes make taste sweeter?

(Dr Dominik Becker)

[2 \/]
Resilience as a Mechanism for Educational Success Despite Disadvantaged Circumstances

(Ms Jennifer Tork)

[3 \/]
Unraveling the paradox of job search via personal contacts and wages: Evidence combining agent based modelling and empirical research

(Dr Gerhard Krug)

[4 \/]
Case study data for validating agent-based models

(Professor Sharon Purchase)

[5 \/]


Call for Papers (was due January 2015)
Session convenor: Dominik Becker (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Coordinator 1 Tilo Beckers (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Coordinator 2 Ulf Tranow (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

This session will lay the spotlight on the link between empirically-oriented theories and empirical research by focusing on the explanatory concept of social mechanisms. When explaining macro-level phenomena such as network structures or social diffusion outcomes, establishing the underlying social mechanisms is a strategy to overcome incomplete explanations which remain restricted on the macro level. Instead, the theoretical and empirical objective is to unveil the meso- or micro-level social mechanisms causing the macro-level explananda. Whether following Coleman’s explanatory macro-micro-macro model, (`wide´) rational action theory or DBO theory (desires, beliefs and opportunities), social scientists address the need for more fine-grained explanatory approaches.

Since about two decades, social mechanism research evolves to be an important paradigm in the social sciences. Yet, though survey data allow for and are often used to study social mechanisms, their methodological potential to do so is only rarely addressed systematically.

We invite colleagues establishing social mechanisms as part of their theoretical explanation and actually researching these mechanisms applying different survey research designs. We would also like to bring together researchers using survey (and/or network) data and linking them to agent-based modeling, an approach which will gain importance to extend and enrich the use of survey data. Finally, we invite presenters discussing either specific micro- or macro-based mechanisms, i.e. both survey-based and experimental approaches (including mediation and moderation analyses) as well as process tracing. We particularly welcome papers applying multilevel mechanism research, e.g. explicating cross-level interaction effects, or controlling for group-induced selection biases and linking analytical theoretical arguments with their data.

Abstracts should include theoretical references, a specification of the mechanism(s) under study and the method and type of data and analyses.

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About Tilo Beckers

Since October 2009, I am an “Akademischer Rat auf Zeit” (equiv. of assistant professor) in Sociology and Research Methods at the University of Düsseldorf. In the summer term 2010 (April through September), I have been on leave as a substitute full professor (W2) for "Methods of Empirical Research and Social Stratification" at the University of Osnabrück, Germany. I have studied at the University of Düsseldorf (MA 1999) and at the New School for Social Research (New York City; DAAD-scholarship and full fee and tuition waiver of the New School). Thereafter, I have been a research assistant and lecturer at the University of Cologne and accomplished my PhD (2008) with a thesis on "Homosexuality and Human Development. Genesis, Structure and Change of Attitudes Towards Same-Sex Sexual Contacts in a Cross-National Contextual Analysis" (in German; presented at ASA Annual Meeting 2008, Boston). My postdoc study at the University of Cologne has been published as a book chapter on "Islam and the Acceptance of Homosexuality: the Shortage of Socio-Economic Well-being and Responsive Democracy" (in: Samar Habib (ed.) 2009: Homosexuality and Islam. Praeger; presented at ESA Conference 2009, Lisbon). My current substantial research focuses on attitudes towards beginning- and end-of-life issues (i.e. topics evolving around abortion, IVF, PID and also euthanasia, patient's wills, palliative medicine). At the ISA World Congress 2010 in Gothenburg, I have organized an Ad-hoc Session on "Beginning- and End-of-Life-Issues on the Move" (together with Eva Jaspers, Utrecht, and Nora Machado, Lisbon). My methodological research is closely linked to issues of cross-national comparison, the analysis of social change and multilevel analysis. Please find out more about current research projects FAIVA-LIFE, "Boundaries of Life" and AnaGramm on my University website and my blogs.

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