Introduction to Social Network Analysis

Paola Tubaro & Yasaman Sarabi
University of Greenwich
p.tubaro@greenwich.ac.uk

LIMITED to 30 Seats

The workshop is aimed at researchers and post-graduate students who are new to social network analysis (SNA), and would like to better understand whether and how they can use it to enhance their research programmes. The goal of the workshop is to provide attendees with basic insight into SNA, and how it can be used in social science research, policy and business applications. Multiple examples from empirical research are provided, using both “classical” social and organisational network data and web-based data. There are some simple computer-based exercises with Gephi for an hands-on illustration of how to visualize different types of network data and how to compute basic metrics and indicators.

Participants will learn:

  • Fundamental principles of SNA and their grounding in social theories;
  • The use of network-based reasoning to draw social policy and business recommendations;
  •  Some essential technicalities: collection methods, format and properties of network data;
  • Opportunities and challenges arising from the increasing availability of social network data from the Internet;
  • Use of visualisation software packages and how they support network data interpretation;
  • Basic measures of network composition and structure ‘ how they can be used to uncover important aspects of the social phenomenon under study and how they can be represented graphically;
  • A flavour of the usefulness of more complex statistical models of networks such as ERGM and Siena;
  • How SNA can be successfully integrated into social science research, business applications and policy advice using various sources;
  • What resources (books, journals, conferences) are available to support research in SNA.

Requirements: Participants may come from all social sciences backgrounds and are assumed to have no previous knowledge of Social Network Analysis.
Although the workshop does not focus on any specific software or data handling tool, it offers an opportunity for participants to have a first practical experience of how to use social network data, draw graphs, and perform some simple calculations and analyses. Therefore, participants are advised to bring their own laptop and to download Gephi, a free software for social network exploratory analysis and visualisation. Available at: http://gephi.org/
Learning Outcomes: The workshop will provide attendees with a basic insight into social network analysis and how it can be used in their social science, business and policy research as well as applications.

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