Dr. Ryan Acton, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Dr. Andrew Papachristos, University of Massachusetts Amherst
How do diseases, violence, and fashion trends spread through a population? What is the connection between global trade patterns and modern art? Does marriage affect banking relationships? How do modern technologies such as Facebook affect our intimate relationships? How cohesive are terrorist cells, and how successful are the government’s attempt at dismantling them? How does peer pressure influence obesity, smoking, and other behaviors? The answer to all these questions is based on an understanding of social networks and how they are structured.
This workshop is an introduction to the burgeoning field of social network analysis, which spans many disciplines. The morning sessions will focus on introducing the network paradigm, its basic tenets, and methods of data collection and analysis. Topics include: a history of the field; basic graph theory, notation, and properties; network visualization; properties of actors including centrality, power, prestige, and prominence; cohesion and sub-groupings; and a brief introduction to statistical models for social networks. The afternoon sessions will guide the participant through a hands-on tutorial using the R software platform. A variety of data examples will be used from multiple substantive areas.