MY561 Half Unit
Social Network Analysis
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Dr Eleanor Power COL 8.03
This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in International Relations and MPhil/PhD in Social Research Methods. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
This course is available to research students only. This course is not controlled access. If you register for a place and meet the prerequisites, if any, you are likely to be given a place.
This course focuses on data about connections, forming structures known as networks. Networks and network data describe an increasingly vast part of the modern world, through connections on social media, communications, financial transactions, and other ties. This course covers the fundamentals of network structures, network data structures, and the analysis and presentation of network data. Students will work directly with network data and structure and analyse these data using R.
Social networks have always been at the centre of human interaction, but especially with the explosive growth of the internet, network analysis has become increasingly central to all branches of the social sciences. How do people influence each other, bargain with each other, exchange information (or germs), or interact online? A diverse array of deep questions about human behaviour can only be answered by examining the social networks encompassing and shifting around us. Network analysis has emerged as a cross-disciplinary science in its own right, and has in fact proven to be of even greater generality and broader applicability than just the social, extending to ecology, physics, genetics, computer science, and other domains.
This course will examine the key papers in the development of social network analysis, and will develop the theory and methodological tools needed to model and predict social networks and use them in social sciences as diverse as sociology, political science, economics, health, psychology, history, or business. The core of the course will comprise the essential tools of network analysis, from centrality, homophily, and community detection, to random graphs, network formation, and information flow. Alongside this we will read a series of substantive and seminal papers, shaped in part by the interests of the students and their various backgrounds, with a particular focus on the difficult task of causal inference in social networks. The course will also provide an introduction to network modelling, analysis, and visualization using R.
This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Lent Term.
This course has a reading week in Week 6 of LT.
Students will be expected to produce 2 problem sets in the LT.
Type: Structured formative problem sets in two of the weeks will build on what was covered in the staff-led lab sessions, to be completed by the student outside of class. Answers should be formatted and submitted for assessment.
Newman, M.E.J. (2010). Networks: An introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Scott, J. (2017). Social Network Analysis. Los Angeles: SAGE. 4th edition.
Easley, D., & Kleinberg, J. (2010). Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Take-home assessment (50%) and problem sets (50%) in the LT.
Student problem sets will be marked in five of the weeks. These will constitute 50% of the final overall mark.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2020/21: 3
Average class size 2020/21: 2
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Application of numeracy skills
- Specialist skills