I've just found the On-Line Guide for Newcomers to Agent Based Modelling website maintained by Robert Axelrod and Leigh Tesfatsion. This looks like a very useful resource.
The site days:
"The purpose of this on-line guide is to suggest a short list of introductory readings and supporting materials to help newcomers become acquainted with Agent-Based Modeling (ABM). Our primary intended audience is graduate students and advanced undergraduate students in the social sciences. Teachers of ABM might also find this guide of use.
Unlike established methodologies such as statistics and mathematics, ABM has not yet developed a widely shared understanding of what a newcomer should learn. For decades, concepts such as the level of significance in statistics and the derivative in mathematics have been common knowledge that newcomers could be expected to learn. "
It begins with a very clear view of what ABM is and how it can help expland the horizons of social science. It then provides a reading list and other resources. I like the following:
"The social sciences seek to understand not only how individuals behave but also how the interaction of many individuals leads to large-scale outcomes. Understanding a political or economic system requires more than an understanding of the individuals that comprise the system. It also requires understanding how the individuals interact with each other, and how the results can be more than the sum of the parts.
ABM is well suited for this social science objective. It is a method for studying systems exhibiting the following two properties: (1) the system is composed of interacting agents; and (2) the system exhibits emergent properties, that is, properties arising from the interactions of the agents that cannot be deduced simply by aggregating the properties of the agents. When the interaction of the agents is contingent on past experience, and especially when the agents continually adapt to that experience, mathematical analysis is typically very limited in its ability to derive the dynamic consequences. In this case, ABM might be the only practical method of analysis. "