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Introduction to Social Network Analysis

Instructors: Dan Halgin and Dan Brass


This is a 4-day (Mon-Thu) workshop that provides a balanced introduction to social network analysis, including theoretical concepts, data collection, research design, network measures, using the software and interpreting results. The first day is a theoretical, historical and empirical overview of the field led by Dan Brass, a pioneer of social network research in organizations. The remaining three days introduce the main concepts of SNA, including centrality, cohesion, and social capital, as well as research methods including data collection, data management and testing hypotheses. Participants are also introduced to the UCINET/NetDraw software. Please read the software page for important information about the windows-based programs that we will use. Although our (instructor) expertise is primarily in social networks and management research, we do our best to incorporate examples relevant to participants with backgrounds in education, health, history, and other disciplines. 

Compared to the "Analyzing Social Networks" module, this course is more conceptual, assumes no background, and moves a little slower on the computer. Participants are shown how to use the software, but some of the bells and whistles are left out. In the labs, the instructors demonstrate the software, participants work at their own pace on their machines, and together we debrief the exercise as a group. Multiple TAs circulate to help people who get stuck. A more detailed schedule of topics is given at the bottom of the page.


We will be using UCINET and Netdraw. Both are windows programs. If you are a Mac user, we recommend installing Windows via Parallels, VMwareFursion, etc. Please visit our software page for more information.

  • Monday
    • (90% of day) A theoretical, historical, and empirical overview of the field (led by Dan Brass)
    • (Last half hour) UCINET (please instal prior to arrival)
  • Tuesday
    • (AM) Graph theory; Network data; Intro to UCINET & Netdraw
    • (PM) Centrality
  • Wednesday
    • (AM) Social capital
    • (PM) Cohesion
  • Thursday
    • (AM) Hypothesis testing with QAP
    • (PM)  Special topics: 2-mode data, data collection, data entry, etc.

Course Materials

  • 2018 Course packet will be emailed to participants

Recommended Readings

NOTE: We don't assume any prior reading for our track, but if you'd like to learn a bit more about SNA, the below articles are a good start.
  • Borgatti, S.P. and Foster, P. 2003. The network paradigm in organizational research: A review and typology.Journal of Management. 29(6): 991-1013 [pdf]
  • Borgatti, S.P., Brass, D.J., & Halgin, D. S. (2014).  Social network research: Confusions, criticisms, and controversies.  In D. J. Brass, G. Labianca, A. Mehra, D. S. Halgin, & S. Borgatti (eds.), Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 1-33.  Emerald. [pdf]
  • Borgatti, S.P., Mehra, A., Brass, D. and Labianca, G. (2009). Network analysis in the social sciences. Science, Vol. 323. no. 5916, 892-895. [published version] [longer pre-pub version]
  • Borgatti, S.P. & Halgin, D.S. (2011). On Network Theory. Organization Science. September/October 2011 22(5):1168-1181 [pdf]
  • Brass, D. J. (2012). A social network perspective on organizational psychology.  In S. W. J. Kozlowski (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Organizational Psychology, 667-695. New York, Oxford University Press. [pdf]
  • Brass, D. (forthcoming). A social network perspective on industrial/organizational psychology. Industrial/Organizational Handbook. [pdf]
  • UCINET Quick-Start Guide [pdf]
Additional Readings

The approach taken in this workshop is highly consistent with the material in the following book.