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Building a Bridge from Qualitative Analysis to a Simulation of the Arab Spring Protests

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This paper builds a ‘bridge’ between a qualitative analysis and the design of an agent-based simulation by applying the CSNE framework, which distinguishes between context, scope and narrative elements. Qualitative data were constructed from ethnographic interviews on the Arab Spring in Egypt and Morocco. To identify narrative elements, the data were analysed by coding procedures from grounded theory and a computational analysis. Through a series of conversations and structured questions, the scope and context, which were largely implicit in the data, were specified, and a simulation was produced in a process akin to ‘rapid prototyping’. The aim was to produce the design for a simulation that included the key elements and behaviours identified from the qualitative data and as few other elements as possible. This paper describes this process, the CSNE framework, as well as the simulation that resulted. The lessons learned for such an exercise are reported.


  • Protests
  • Arab spring
  • Egypt
  • Morocco
  • Interviews
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Context
  • Scope
  • Agent-based simulation
  • Qual2rule

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-61503-1_22
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BE acknowledges the support of EU Commission funding as part of the H2020 “Populism and Civic Engagement” (PaCE) project, number 822337. SD acknowledges the support of a fellowship for prospective researchers from the Swiss National Fund (PBGEP1_145336), and a COFUND Junior Research Fellowship from Durham University and the European Union. We also thank the participants of the Lorentz workshop on “Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence using Social Simulation” (April 2019, Leiden) for their comments.

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Correspondence to Stephanie Dornschneider .

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Dornschneider, S., Edmonds, B. (2021). Building a Bridge from Qualitative Analysis to a Simulation of the Arab Spring Protests. In: Ahrweiler, P., Neumann, M. (eds) Advances in Social Simulation. ESSA 2019. Springer Proceedings in Complexity. Springer, Cham.

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