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School of Social Sciences

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BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Social Network Analysis

Unit code SOCY20042
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Sociology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This unit is an introduction to the theory, methods and procedures of social network analysis. We examine both complete and ego networks and we will consider the nature of network data and the idea of structural sociology. After introducing some basic terminology using UCINET and Netdraw we shall cover descriptive measures of cohesion and centrality together with techniques for uncovering hidden cohesive subgroups. We shall look at how the applications of these concepts have been used in the development of social network theories such as small worlds, strength of weak ties and structural holes. Examples will be drawn from a variety of contexts such as corporate elites, social movements and friendship networks.

Aims

We are all connected through networks. We have networks of friends, work colleagues, family ties and many other connections. The term social network and social networking are now part of our popular culture and everyone is familiar with the websites that enable us to more easily communicate using networks. The study of social networks is one of the fastest growing areas in sociology but has been around for decades, dating back to the work of Moreno in the 1930s. The aim of this unit is to give you the tools to map and analyze the patterns of relations that link individuals or groups. Taking this perspective allows us to develop theoretical concepts and methods which enable us to uncover and understand how the patterns in the social relations that bind us together influences our behaviour, attitudes and beliefs.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

- Map and visualize social networks using standard tools
- Analyze network structures using descriptive measures
- Relate and apply key social network theories in different contexts
- Evaluate and critique social network studies

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly three hour lecture / workshop
Each week will be a one hour lecture followed by different activities. In the first two or three weeks there will be two hour computer workshops. The first hour will be devoted to a demonstration and during the second hour students will undertake supervised computer worksheets. In the following weeks students for the first workshop hour will undertake a mixture of tutorial work and computer laboratory work. During the second workshop hour they will be placed in small groups and will be given a task in which they will critically apply the theory and methods on standard network datasets. Each week a selected group will undertake this activity with the staff member on a rotational basis.

Assessment methods

The assessment will consist of an end of semester examination (50%) and a practical computer based visualization and analysis of social network data (50%)

Feedback methods

All sociology courses include both formative feedback – which lets you know how you’re getting on and what you could do to improve – and summative feedback – which gives you a mark for your assessed work.

Recommended reading

Scott, J (2000) Social Network Analysis: A Handbook
Knoke D and S Yang (2008) Social Network Analysis
Hanneman, R A. and M Riddle. (2005). Introduction to social network methods.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Martin Everett Unit coordinator

Additional notes

2015/16 timetable

Thursday 09:00 - 10:00 Lecture

Thursday 10:00 - 12:00 Practical Class

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