Introduction to Social Network Analysis

in person in Calgary | July 16-17, 2024, during Rocky Mountain Methodology Academy

$895 (Canadian dollars) + 5% GST. Discounts available for graduate students and multi-course enrollment.

The field of social network analysis is based on the sociological insight that the social world is relational. Rather than focusing on the attributes of individuals, social network analysis examines the patterning of relationships between individuals and groups to understand social action. Quantifying these relationships allows us to explore how social ties provide both opportunities and constraints across the life course. Over the past twenty-five years, largely due to the increased availability of specialized software, there has been a proliferation of research using social network analysis in many fields, including business, public policy, public health and education. This short course will provide you with the skills to read, evaluate and contribute to this literature. We will cover the design, collection, analysis and interpretation of both whole and ego-centred network data.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jenny Godley, PhD

In this course, you will be introduced to two types of social network analysis: whole / global (including affiliation networks) and ego-centred. You will learn how to gather, manage, analyze and interpret both types of social network data. Course topics include:

  • Overview of theoretical and disciplinary underpinnings of social network analysis
  • Designing ethical social network research
  • Collecting whole and ego-centred social network data
  • Analysis of one-mode whole network data
  • Analysis of dual-mode whole network data (affiliation networks)
  • Analysis of ego-centred network data
  • Visualization of network data
  • Interpreting and evaluating the use of social network analysis in various disciplines

The course meets in person at the University of Calgary for two days July 16-17, 2024, during Rocky Mountain Methodology Academy. Class meets from 9.00am to 5.00pm each day.

Students will be introduced to a variety of specialized software during the course: UCINET for analysis of whole network data; E-NET for analysis of ego-centred network data; and NetDraw and Gephi for network visualization. All of these software packages are available for free. Because this is a hands-on course, learners are encouraged to bring a laptop to class with the software downloaded (instructions will be provided). Instruction will focus on demonstrating the data management, statistical and visualization techniques in multiple software programs and students are not required to be an expert in any specific software. Supplemental materials and examples will also include examples from various standard software packages such as SPSS, STATA, and R.

This course will be helpful for researchers in any field —including psychology, sociology, education, business, human development, social work, public health, public policy, social work, communication, and others that rely on social science methodology —who want to learn how to collect, analyze and interpret social network data. Learners should have background knowledge in introductory statistics topics such as univariate statistical tests, descriptive statistics, correlation and regression analysis. Though proficiency in a specific software isn’t required, ideally participants will have some familiarity with running analyses using some type of statistical software (e.g., R, SPSS, SAS, STATA).

Upon completing this course, you will be able to

  • Understand the theoretical distinction and practical differences between whole / global and ego-centred network research designs
  • Design network data collection tools for whole / global network data (including affiliation network data) and ego-centred network data
  • Manage and clean network data
  • Construct, calculate, interpret and use whole network measures at the network level such as density, centralization and reciprocity and at the individual-level such as degree, centrality, and group membership
  • Construct, calculate, interpret and use ego-centred network measures such as size and homophily
  • Conduct basic statistical analyses using both whole and ego-centred network data measures
  • Create visualizations / maps of both whole / global and ego-centred networks
  • Evaluate literature in your field that uses social network analysis

A certificate of completion from the Canadian Centre for Research Analysis and Methods is provided at the end of the course.

"This course provided an excellent overview of Social Network Analysis in a limited timeframe. Dr. Godley delivered a balanced approach to learning that included lectures focused on the theoretical background, illustration of useful and real-world examples of the method, and practical applications of social network analysis using different software. I now feel confident to start incorporating this method into my own future research."

"This course was a great primer to SNA. Dr. Godley’s passion for the methodology made the course engaging and demonstrated clear examples of how this methodology can be applied to various projects."

"Jenny was an excellent instructor and it was a great opportunity to learn from her."