Analysing Network Data

Dr. Rick Aalbers; Dr. Eoin Whelan; Dr. Conor Hayes; Mr. Colm O'Riordan (Dept. of Business Administration, Radboud University; Business Information Systems Group, NUI Galway; INSIGHT, NUI Galway; Information Technology, NUI Galway)

CA107, Cairnes Building (St. Anthony's side), NUI Galway 09:00 :: 26th February 2014

Social network methods and theorising provide a rich framework for conceptualising, describing, and analysing social structures and processes. Drawing together a well-developed area of mathematics (graph and network theory) and a wide array of theories, they provide a basis for studying a multitude of social phenomena. For example, social networks analysis (SNA) has proven to be influential in explaining diverse phenomenon such as: why individuals make certain decisions, how innovations and trends catch fire and spread exponentially throughout a population, and the performance differences between individuals, teams, and organisations. Simple constructs (e.g., nodes and ties) can be used to organise data and construct meaningful measures of significant aspects of highly complex social structures. Phenomena that otherwise are not subject to easy quantification have become both measurable and computable with social network techniques.

This half-day workshop provides a balanced introduction to social network analysis, including theoretical concepts, data collection, research design, network measures, using software and interpreting results. The speakers will draw from their own research and demonstrate how network analysis techniques have shed light in fields ranging from strategic management, information systems, and computer science. Participants are also introduced to the UCINET/NetDraw software. The opportunities and challenges presented by large network datasets from social media platforms will also be discussed.


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