New online two-day course: An introduction to social network analysis

MiSoC projects

We are pleased to announce a new two-day online course introducing techniques for analysis of social network data, with the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change, on 4-5 November 2024. Dr Paulo Serôdio explains descriptive methods of network analysis which can help us understand how networks and social relationships work in the context of social policy.

To prevent obesity or smoking initiation among teenagers, who should be targeted in an intervention? How can we contain the spread of an infectious disease under limited resources? Who should be vaccinated first in order to be most effective during vaccination shortages? How can we dismantle a terrorist organization, a drug distribution network or disrupt the communication flow of a criminal gang?

Social network analysis offers the theoretical framework and the appropriate methodology to answer questions like these by focusing on the relationships between and among social entities. Unlike transitional research methods, we shift the object of study from the individual as the unit of analysis, to the social relations that connect these individuals. A network is therefore a structure composed of units and the relationships that connect them. Network analysis is about the position of these units, the overall structure and how these affect the flow of information. 

The focus of the course is not so much on how to express these concepts formally through mathematics, but rather on how to use appropriate software to acquire measurements for these concepts in the data and use them rigorously in empirical hypothesis testing. The majority of the course will focus on descriptive methods of network analysis, but we will also discuss network-specific models and inferential methods for network analysis. 

The course covers: 

  • Foundations social networks data: relational structures and data collection;
  • Manipulation of network data (matrix algebra and graph theory);
  • Node-level measurements;
  • Graph-level measurements;
  • Network visualization.

Learning outcomes:

  • Navigate the key areas of research in social networks; 
  • Acquire knowledge of data collection and suitable data structures for analysing social networks; 
  • Develop an understanding of social phenomena through the lenses of the social networks theory; 
  • Learn how to operate software package for the analysis of social network data; 
  • Learn how to use and interpret graph-theoretic and matrix algebra concepts with real-world data;
  • Acquire the ability and comprehension to independently read scientific literature using social network analysis methodology;
  • Learn the fundamentals of social network analysis to acquire the necessary proficiency to explore more advanced topics autonomously.


Basic knowledge of Excel and data matrices.

Course Format:

2 full days (09:00 – 17:30 each day)


Dr Paulo Serôdio is a researcher at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, of the University of Essex. His research interests lie at the intersection of network analysis, computational social science and public health. His research projects have received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council and from the Independent Social Research Foundation. He is also affiliated with the Economic History Department of the University of Barcelona, the Paris Institute of Complex Systems, the Center for Organizational Sociology at Sciences Po and with the South East European Studies at Oxford. Before joining the University of Essex, he held research positions at Northeastern University, the University of Oxford and the University of Barcelona. 

You can find more information about his research at


The fee per teaching day is £35 per day for students / £75 per day for staff working for academic institutions, Research Councils and other recognised research institutions, registered charity organisations and the public sector / £250 per day for all other participants. In the event of cancellation by the delegate a full refund of the course fee is available up to two weeks prior to the course. NO refunds are available after this date. If it is no longer possible to run a course due to circumstances beyond its control, NCRM reserves the right to cancel the course at its sole discretion at any time prior to the event. In this event every effort will be made to reschedule the course. If this is not possible or the new date is inconvenient a full refund of the course fee will be given. NCRM shall not be liable for any costs, losses or expenses that may be incurred as a result of its cancellation of a course, including but not limited to any travel or accommodation costs. The University of Southampton’s Online Store T&Cs also continue to apply.

Website and registration: Introduction to Social Network Analysis – online (


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