Year of entry: 2018
Course unit details:
Applications of Social Networks
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This unit is an introduction to the applications of social network analysis in sociological research. We discuss the main techniques of data collection and the various measures that can be used to understand structural opportunities and constrains for individual action. Each lecture then focuses on a specific area of application, like personal networks and community studies, occupational structure, criminal networks, scientific networks, finance networks, online networks. No preliminary knowledge of social network analysis is required.
On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:
- Understand the influence of social connections on individual behaviour (in practices like criminal behaviour, organizations' performances, addictive behaviours, neighbourhood relationships, and the like).
- Appreciate the benefits and limits of using a social networks approach in several sociological areas of research, like sociology of science, sociology of personal relationships, community studies, sociology of health, criminology, sociology of culture.
- Understand the peculiarity of social network perspective, and critically engage with relational and analytical theories.
- Be familiar with social networks research design and data collection in several sociological areas.
Teaching and learning methods
Main ideas will be presented in an hour weekly lecture, followed by a workshop session. Each week a reading on a topic will be assigned: students will be advised to read suggested readings and slides before the lectures to stimulate the discussion and questions. In workshops students will be asked to sit in groups and perform practical tasks related to the topics discussed in the previous lecture. In some weeks, students will be asked to do some simple homework that will be the basis of the workshops' practical tasks. The course does not expect students to learn how to do formal network analysis, but to simply appreciate how studies can be conducted, the advantages they offer, and how results can be interpreted. Materials will be available on blackboard.
The module requires that you study for a minimum of 12 hours per week. This is comprised of teaching and independent study in these proportions:
- 3 hours lectures and tutorials
- At least 3 hours reading the Key Reading;
- At least 3 hours reading an additional text from the reading list;
- At least 3 hours written work for assessed and non-assessed assignments.
This leaves 80 hours study time remaining to be used in independent study over the duration of the course.
The assessment will consist of an essay (50%) and an end of semester examination (50%).
- Informal verbal formative feedback will be given during lectures and tutorials. (You’ll need to contribute regularly to group discussions to make the best use of this.)
- Written formative feedback will be given on your non-assessed assignment and made available via Turnitin. Half a day individual feedback discussion will be available in the lecturer’s office.
- Written formative and summative feedback will be given on your assessed coursework, available via Turnitin. Half a day individual feedback discussion will be available in the lecturer’s office.
Freeman L. C., 2004, The development of social network analysis, Empirical Press, Vancouver.
Kadushin C., 2012, Understanding social networks, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Robins, G. 2015. Doing Social Networks Research: Network Research Design for Social Scientists. Sage, London
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Elisa Bellotti||Unit coordinator|