Greenwich Summer School on Social Network Analysis

From June 17 to June 25, 2013, the University of Greenwich held a Summer School on Social Network Analysis which I attended (for an overview of alternatives, see here). The University is home to the Centre for Business Network Analysis, which is headed by Bruce Cronin. The way the center is positioned is rather unique and, to my knowledge, the only comparable entity is the LINKS Center for Social Network Analysis in Kentucky, which is run by Dan Brass. Several courses were offered at the summer school, some for beginners, others for more advanced students. I took the course on models of longitudinal network analysis which was organized and lead by Guido Conaldi.

In terms of content, there were three main sections. The first one was an introduction into programming with R and RStudio. In the second section, we dealt with SIENA models (Snijders et al., 2010). Last but not least, we were introduced to relational event modeling (Butts, 2008). Guido actually managed to obtain data sets from various published studies which we then analyzed and compared our results to the official ones contained in the publications. That was a great hands-on approach. Overall, the course was pretty intense and focused. It was also quite technical for both the programming part and the statistics underlying the models. Any novice tempted to take the same course would benefit from a solid background in both areas, otherwise it may be difficult to keep up with Guido.

References:

Butts, C. T. (2008). ‘A Relational Event Framework for Social Action’, Sociological Methodology, 38(1), pp. 155–200.

Snijders, T. A. B., G. G. van de Bunt and C. E. G. Steglich. (2010). ‘Introduction to stochastic actor-based models for network dynamics’, Social Networks, 32(1), pp. 44–60.

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David Wagner

Post Doc/Assistant Professor, Digital Strategy & Innovation, German Graduate School of Management and Law (GGS)

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