MSc (Sussex), MA, DPhil (Oxon)
Room: Attenborough Tower 407.
Tel: +44 (0)11-6252-2737 (direct line).
Drop In Hours (Semester 1, Academic Year 16-17): Monday 1300-1350, Thursday 1400-1450.
My research deals with decision-making in sociologically important contexts. By contrast, I am also interested in evolutionary theories of change in which practices are selected the social environment rather than chosen by individuals. In support of these interests, I have wide experience in research methods, particularly computer simulation but also qualitative research, social network analysis and experiments. My theoretical and methodological interests have developed in parallel with several empirical case studies on household money management, secondhand markets, adaptation of farming practices, ethnic disadvantage in labour markets and social networks in criminal activity and drug use.
I am interested in supervising doctoral research related to my core interest in decision making in sociologically significant contexts. This means decisions in families, groups and organisations where factors like power, bureaucratic rules, collective action problems, diverse information or goals may complicate the standard models of individual decision. In support of this interest I have experience in a range of methods (particularly in computer simulation and qualitative research but to a lesser extent in experiments and statistics), theories and models (rational choice and game theory, social network analysis, time use) and substantive areas (farming, religion, family finances, drug use, crime networks, innovation diffusion, social mobility and labour markets/industrial organisation).
I am also interested in applications of evolutionary models for social change (exploring how practices may or may not reproduce themselves through selection in a social "environment", for example organisational ecology and memetics) and the social structure of second hand and illegal markets. While I am interested in methodological innovation, mixed methods and methodological developments in computer simulation, I am not interested in supervising "pure" (i. e. data free) research in these areas. I am happy to work with potential applicants to translate their interests into workable (and fundable!) research proposals.
Activities and profile
- Member of Leicester Judgment and Decision Making Research Group.
- Joint interim convenor (with Dan Ladley from Economics) of the newly forming Leicester Agent Based Modelling Reading Group.
- A short piece on the till as part of the Social Worlds in 100 Objects initiative and associated mini lecture on 3 November 2014.
- A documentary about second hand markets in Britain and South Korea made by Ewha Woman's University.
- Editorial Board member for the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (1998-present). [Click on this link to go to the journal]
- A short video entitled "Is Britain Broken" as a contribution to the Leicester Exchanges blogs on contemporary affairs. [Click on this link to go to the video on youtube] [Click on this link to go to Leicester Exchanges]
- A short video entitled "Happy Nation" as a contribution to the Leicester Exchanges blogs on contemporary affairs. [Click on this link to go to video on youtube] [Click on this link to go to Leicester Exchanges]
- A short video introduction to my presentation entitled "How to Choose (or Refine) a Research Topic in Simulation" at the second ESSA Summer School on Social Simulation, University of Surrey, Guildford, 18-22 July 2011. [Click on this link to go to the video on youtube]
- The full video of the ESSA Summer School presentation (83 minutes). [Click on this link to go to the video on youtube]
- A video of "In Conversation with Michael Agar" at the 4th ESRC Research Methods Festival, St Catherine's College, Oxford, 5-8 July 2010 (85 minutes). [Click on this link to go to the video]
- SY7034: From Research Questions to Research Design
- SY7036: Advanced Research Methods
- Social Sciences Doctoral Training Programme Core: Research Design and Methods
- Social Sciences Doctoral Training Programme Core: Qualitative Methods
- Social Sciences Doctoral Training Programme Advanced Training Programme: Agent-Based Modelling (A Non-Technical Introduction)
- Social Sciences Doctoral Training Programme Advanced Training Programme: Network Thinking and Network Analysis
- Supervision of Masters and PhD theses
Current administrative duties
- Undergraduate Research Project Coordinator
- Departmental Plagiarism Officer