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Introduction to Social Network Analysis


12-14 October 2022

Lang EN Workshop language is English

Mihaela Nedelcu (Titular Professor of Sociology/MER, University of Neuchâtel – Neuchâtel, Switzerland), Eva Fernández G. G. (Postdoc scientific collaborator II, University of Geneva – Geneva, Switzerland), Livia Tomas (PhD student, University of Neuchâtel – Neuchâtel, Switzerland)


James Hollway (Associate Professor, Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID) – Geneva Switzerland), Miranda Lubbers (Associate Professor, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) – Barcelona, Spain), Louise Ryan (Senior Professor of Sociology, London Metropolitan University (London MET) – London, United Kingdom), Eva Fernández G. G. (Postdoc scientific collaborator II, University of Geneva – Geneva, Switzerland)


This workshop provides a balanced introduction to social network analysis, including theoretical concepts and network measures, using software and interpreting results. The workshop aims to familiarise and train participants to applied social network analysis. This includes an introduction to both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, as well as an introduction to some of the most recent developments in field.

Social network analysis focuses on relationships or connections between the units of analysis (e.g. relationships between individuals, organisations or concepts). It allows to understand how the relational configurations in which social actors are embedded give them opportunities or generate constraints.

Furthermore, the workshop offers a theoretical and practical study to social network analysis at the organisational and individual level, including both sociometric (complete networks) and egocentric networks analysis. During the sessions we will focus on theoretical concepts (such as structural holes and social capital), and relate them to specific network measures (such as centrality, density and subgroup analyses). We will discuss how to compute these measures, as well as how to obtain results using packages in R and UCINET.

The current introductory module on applied social network analysis is open to PhD students working with different methodological perspectives (qualitative, quantitative and mixed). In addition, participants will have the opportunity and are encouraged to bring their own data, in order to discuss the most suitable perspectives for their own research. At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to design a relational research (network) and interpret their own results.

Empirically, the workshop could address for instance some of the following research questions:

  • What are the types of social relationships that structure ego-network family configurations?
  • What is the role of social networks in the integration of vulnerable people? What types of relationships facilitate their integration?
  • How do organisational actors coordinate their services, i.e. what are their collaborative links and network structures?
  • How do intergenerational solidarity relationships evolve over time?
  • What network structures promote collective action among organisations?



Workshop program:


Session 1: General introductory session 

Day 1 - Wednesday 12, October – Afternoon (14:00 – 19:00)

Instructors: James Hollway (IHEID), Eva Fernández G. G. (UNIGE), Miranda Lubbers (UAB), Louise Ryan (London MET)

13:30 – 14:00 Welcome

14:00 – 14:15 Workshop introduction.

14:15 – 15:15 Students presentations (~5 min each):

  • Elevator pitch on their PhD research
  •  Sharing their familiarity and interest in networks

Coffee break 

15:35 – 17:00 Doing social network research:

  •  Presentation by Louise Ryan 
  • Presentation by Miranda Lubbers 
  • Presentation by James Hollway 
  •  Presentation by Eva Fernández G. G. 

General presentation on the presenters' research interests and methods.

Short presentation of a research question, concepts, design and methods (including the data types) based on own projects.

Break – 15 min

17:15 – 19:00 Introduction to social network analysis:

  • Origins and brief history of social network analysis
  • Definitions of social networks
  • Reasons to do networks
  • Analytic approaches/research design 
  • Types/formats of social networks
  •  Levels of analysis
  • Network research questions

Exercise: Students are tasked with coming up with 2-3 'networks' questions in their field and presenting 1 the next day

Workshop dinner 

Day 2 - Thursday 13, October – Morning (8:30 – 9:15)

Instructors: James Hollway (IHEID), Eva Fernández G. G. (UNIGE), Miranda Lubbers (UAB), Louise Ryan (London MET)

08:30 – 09:15 Students share the research questions they have thought about (discussion with all instructors in small groups)


Session 2: Sociometric analysis and data collection strategies

Instructors: James Hollway (IHEID) and Eva Fernández G. G. (UNIGE) 

Day 2 - Thursday 13, October – Morning (09:15 – 12:30)

09:15 – 10:00 Introduction to describing networks: 

  • Nodes
  • Isolates
  • Components
  • Diameter
  • Geodesic path
  • Neighborhood
  • Relation types 

10:00 – 10:45 Practical: Importing and visualizing networks in R. 

Coffee break – 15 min

11:00 – 12:00 Introduction and discussion of centrality and centralization:

  •  Degree centrality
  • Closeness centrality
  •  Betweenness centrality
  • Eigenvector centrality
  • Centralization

12:00 – 12:30 Practical: Centrality (group exercise).

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch 

Day 2 - Thursday 13, October – Afternoon (14:00 – 18:00)

14:00 – 15:00 Introduction and discussion of density and cohesion: 

  •  Density
  • Reciprocity
  • Dyads and triads
  • Quads and projection

15:00 – 15:30 Practical: Describing networks in R. 

Coffee break – 15 min 

15:45 – 16:45 Homophily and testing:

  • Social mechanisms
  • Homophily and heterophily
  •  Measures of homophily/homogeneity 
  • Testing against random and permuted graphs

16:45 – 17:15 Practical: Homophily and testing in R. 

Break – 15 min

17:30 – 18:00 Outlook on inferential methods: 

  •  An overview of the bestiary of statistical network models
  • Where to get more information

Workshop dinner 


Session 3: Egocentric analysis

Instructors: Miranda Lubbers (UAB) and Louise Ryan (London MET)

Day 3 – Friday 14October – Morning (8:30-12:30)

08:30 – 9:30 Introduction to egocentric network analysis and discussion of research questions. 

09:30 – 10:30 - Discussion of theoretical concepts in personal network analysis:

  • Social capital
  • Homophily 
  •  Strength of Ties 

Coffee break – 15 min

10:45 – 11:45 Introduction to egocentric analysis qualitative approach (Telling Network Stories). 

11:45 – 12:30 Introduction to egocentric analysis quantitative approach. 

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch

Day 3 – Friday 14October – Afternoon (14:00-17:00)

14:00 – 15:00 Discussion of egocentric measures: 

  • Homophily 
  •  Heterogeneity 
  • Constraint index
  • Betweenness centrality
  • Components
  • Multiplexity

Coffee break – 15 min 

15:15 – 16:45 Practical application and analysis of ego-network networks (students will use a sociogram to map and analyze each other's personal networks).

CUSO - PhD Workshop wrap-up/farewell 




Target audience: Doctoral students from a Swiss-French university, regardless of the stage of their thesis or their knowledge of SNA, who are interested to integrate a relational perspective into their research through a qualitative or a quantitative approach.

Type of workshop format: Residential workshop over two and a half days with two nights on site. 

Teaching language: English

Requirements: Install R, RStudio, and the R packages 'igraph' and 'migraph' from CRAN.


Modalité de participation financière pour les doctorant-e-s CUSO: CHF 20.-



Délai d'inscription 28.09.2022
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