A new Introduction to SNA Short Course


I gave a one-day workshop on Introduction to Social Network Analysis  in July, and it was a great experience -for me and, from what I could see, for participants. I am now about to repeat the experience, and I’m so excited about it!

Indeed, at the upcoming Winter School on Analytical Software at the University of Greenwich, I will offer a new Introduction to SNA workshop (13th January 2011). As the first one, it is aimed at those researchers and post-graduate students who are new to the field, and would like to better understand whether and how they can use it to enhance their own research programmes. All social science backgrounds are welcome, and participants are assumed not to have any previous  knowledge of SNA. The goal of the workshop is to provide attendees with basic insight into social network analysis, and how it can be used in social science research, policy and business applications. There will be no use of computers, and familiarity with analytical or statistical software is not required.


The workshop will be structured similarly to the July one, though I plan to increase the number of examples, illustrations and practical applications with respect to the theory and techniques, and to make it more interactive. More formally, I would say that: 

Participants will learn:

  • Fundamental principles of social network analysis and their grounding in social theories;
  • The use of network-based reasoning to draw social policy and business recommendations;
  • Some essential technicalities: format, collection method and properties of network data;
  • Opportunities and challenges arising from the increasing availability of social network data from the internet;
  • Use of visualisation tools 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 sense 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.


Participants may come from all social sciences backgrounds and are assumed to have no previous knowledge of Social Network Analysis.

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.

More information and registration forms are available from the Winter School’s website.

2 Responses to “A new Introduction to SNA Short Course”

  1. I like the idea of a one-day introduction without getting bogged down with the software. I’m creating a similar short course at the University of Maryland targeted primarily to urban planners, economic developers and those in public policy. I have been trying to balance a relevant theoretical grounding and discussions of how SNA might be useful in various research scenarios, with the hands-on introduction to the software. It’s hard to do both in a single course and the audiences are not necessarily the same. I think I’ll try your approach!

    • My workshop is really meant as a general introduction, with no contact with software -even though other one-day training events with software, notably Ucinet and Pajek, are organised during the same week, so participants can do both.

      I did it last summer and found it pretty successful. The key is to focus on practical applications and use a lot of visualisations, to help participants stay focused despite the fact that they have few practical tasks to do.

      A participant last summer wrote a blog post which I found very rewarding, and also quite interesting in itself: http://opmblog.co.uk/2011/07/27/the-power-and-the-potential-of-social-network-analysis/

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