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Published by Maksim Tsvetovat

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Published by: Maksim Tsvetovat on Jan 25, 2011
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CSS 692Social Network Analysis
Maksim (Max) TsvetovatCenter for Social ComplexityGeorge Mason Universitymtsvetov@gmu.eduJanuary 25, 2011
This is version 7.0
1 Introduction
There has been a dramatic rise in the use of social network analysis over the last decade.The availability of standard texts and robust software has undoubtedly contributed to thisincrease. Social network analysis focuses on the relationships between actors and acknowl-edges that an individual’s behaviour is influenced by those around them. Actors and theiractions are viewed as interdependent rather than independent units. This view means thatthe unit of analysis is not the individual, but an entity consisting of the individuals and thelinkages connecting them.The purpose of this class is to introduce you to both social-science and mathematicalconcepts underlying the field of social network analysis. We shall look at the descriptionand visualisation of network data and consider issues of validity and representation. We willthen focus on uncovering structural properties of individual actors and the detection anddescription of groups. Finally we will consider how to test network hypothesis.This is a research-oriented course; its purpose is to give you basic tools for navigatingthe Social Network Analysis literature, and introducing you to the methods of doing socialnetwork analysis on real data.
2 Course Mechanics
2.1 Course schedule
The course meets weekly, on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm, in Innovation Hall 205.1
2.2 Facebook
I’m going to attempt to use Facebook as our course website this semester. I’ve never donethis before, so if it fails we’ll fall back to old-fashioned email.If you don’t have a Facebook account already, please create one (you don’t have to ”friendme”, I won’t be offended – and you can use a fake name if you are opposed to Facebook onprinciple).Once you are logged onto Facebook, search for
CSS 692 - Spring 2011
and the firstsearch result will be our class page with this syllabus. Click
and you will be allowedto post and comment on the page.One of the side-benefits of using Facebook as our class site is that we’ll be able to captureour online interactions and analyze our class social network – which – if the experiment issuccessful – will be one of your homeworks.
2.3 Office Hours
The ”official” office hours for this course are between 3 pm and 4:15 pm on Tuesdays andThursdays, and by appointment at mutually convenient times. My office is in the room 381of Research 1 building.The easiest way to reach me with a question or concern is by email or Facebook. I wouldappreciate if – when you have questions about readings or course material – you post themto the Facebook group first. This gives everyone an opportunity to comment on them.If the matter requires a face-to-face meeting, we can also schedule appointments at mu-tually convenient times.
3 Readings
Stanley Wasserman and Katherine Faust
, Social Network Analysis: Methods andApplications,
# Paperback: 857 pages (hardcover also available)# Publisher: Cambridge University Press (November 25, 1994)# ISBN: 0521387078# List Price: $32.95
This book is the “Bible” and the Cookbook of SNA, and will answer every one of yourquestions as long as it begins with the words ”how do I....” . If your question beginswith ”why”, you may have a slightly harder time. For that, I will provide plenty of supplemental readings on the website.
A number of research papers will also be included in readings. In a way, these are moreimportant then the textbook, as they illustrate the history of the field as well as thestate-of-the-art. Readings for each class will be posted on the website as PDF files.Page 2
4 Schedule of Topics
Note on snow days: We will probably get one or two in the semester. If a class is cancelled due to a snow day, we shift all topics forward by a week. Homework deadlines don’t shift  forward, sorry ;-).
Week 1 – Jan 25
What is social network analysis – social network analysis and linkanalysis – survey of tools and applications – basic graph theory – nodes, edges, graphs –graph density – walks, paths and geodesics.
Week 2 - Feb 1
Centrality in social networks – degree centrality – closeness centrality –betweenness centrality – power centrality.Network Workbench, UCINET and NetDraw Lab – first practical analysis session.Homework 1 handed out.
Week 3 - Feb 2
Cohesive subgroups – cliques – clusters – clans Sept. 11 Hijacker network
potentially taught by a guest lecturer 
Week 4 - Feb 8
Brokerage and structural holes – Cohesion and closure – friendship vs.competition – tradeoffs in efficiency vs. inclusiveness – implication in organization theory,politics.Homework 1 due.
Block modeling – finding distinct roles in social networks – analyzingsocial groups as systems of roles.
Week 6 - Feb 22
Presentations of project proposals by students.
Week 7 - Mar 1
Distance and clustering in social networks – analyzing similarities anddifferences – multi-dimensional scaling
Week 8 - Mar 8
Strength of ties – dealing with non-binary networks – strength of weakties – strength of strong tiesHomework 2 handed out.
SPRING BREAK – Mar 16Week 9 - Mar 22
First approach to 2-mode networks – knowledge networks – featurematrices – networks of similaritiesPage 3

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