The course focuses on ‘Theory’ and ‘Empirical research’, in the ‘Problems-Theory-Empirical research-Policy implications’-sequence that characterizes the various steps in analytical social science.
In the last decades, studies in social networks have grown to an almost independent and major tradition of research in sociology, economics, psychology and anthropology. Meanwhile, one can say that a person, who has no knowledge about social networks, does not know Social Sciences at all because the focus of social sciences is now much more on relations and embeddedness than before.
This course provides an overview of the main developments within this field of research. Important theories and theoretical aspects, which explain the emergence and the consequences of social networks, will be discussed. This includes, for example the notion of the ‘strength of weak ties’, the focus theory, as well as different perspectives on centrality and how we are all connected. Finally, we read and discuss a number of research problems and topics on which social network studies focused. Examples of these topics are: social networks in organizations, online social networks, social networks and health, and negative social networks. The research questions underlying these topics will be reconstructed and answers provided by empirical research will be discussed. In addition, attention is paid to the different kinds of methods that can be used to collect network data as well as the analysis of such data.
During the course, students choose a topic of their interest on which they write a paper in groups of two students). The papers consist of a review of the literature as well as an empirical study carried out by the students on the basis of this literature. During the project meetings and seminars, more information will be provided regarding the requirements related to these papers. During the tutorials, pop-up questions related to that week's literature will be asked and count for 5% of the ifnal grade.
Finally, a midterm and an end-term exam will be undertaken focusing on the understanding of the lectures and literature.
Theoretical and statistical expertise on the level of bachelor-1 and 2 modules from Social Science is required. Sound knowledge of the English language.
Active participation in 80% of all seminars, handing in the paper and assignments in time.
Note: this course is also part of the dedicated minor Social Sciences and Economics.