MB 874
Introduction to Social Network Analysis

Wednesdays 3-5:30 (class) 5:30-7pm (lab), Fall 2003
Fulton 425

Prof. Steve Borgatti


This course provides an intensive introduction to the field of social network analysis. There is both a class period (2.5 hours a week), and a lab period (1.5 hours immediately following the class).  My intention is to cover theory, concept and method in class, and hands-on application in the lab. You are not required to attend to the lab. The purpose of the lab is to teach you how to actually analyze social network data. This means mastering the software tools as well as analytical strategies. 

Network concepts covered will include graph-theoretic fundamentals, centrality, cohesion, subgroups, equivalence and testing hypotheses. Theoretical areas will include embeddedness, social capital, organizational learning and organizational governance. In addition, I will try to include a practitioner perspective by using examples from consulting engagements. Finally, the course will touch on data collection and study design issues.

After taking this course, you should understand the basic concepts of network analysis, be familiar with network research in a few application areas, and be able to carry out analyses of network data. There will be some math involved in the first half of the semester. Whether you are a mathophile or a mathophobe, I guarantee I can make you understand it!

The course will involve quite a bit of reading of journal articles, a midterm exam, and a final paper. The midterm will be based solely on the network concepts covered in the first half of the course. The paper (20-40 pages) can consist of a substantial theoretical effort, or an empirical study, or a case study (e.g., derived from a consulting engagement). 

UCINET 6 software (for Windows) along with helper applications such as NetDraw, Pajek and Mage will be made available for free download. 

Assignments & Grading

Grading is based on class participation (10%), midterm exam (25%) and the final paper (65%).

Class participation is evaluated on the frequency of relevant, constructive contributions that reflect a close reading of assigned materials and thoughtful reflection on the topic.

Homework assignments will consist of 6 to 8 small assignments, usually designed to create competence in using the software effectively.

If you choose to do an empirical study for the final paper, make sure there is a point to the analysis. A simple description of the structure of a network will not receive a passing grade. However, the project can be inductive or deductive -- you can test hypotheses derived from grand theory, or you can investigate the relationships among a set of variables, and tell a story (i.e., construct a theory) based on the results. Empirical consulting projects, in which you use the network analysis to diagnose a problem and prescribe a solution based on the diagnosis, are also welcomed. Try to avoid toy projects.

Required Books & Software

Borgatti, S.P., Everett, M.G. and Freeman, L.C. 2002. UCINET 6 for Windows: Software for Social Network Analysis. Harvard: Analytic Technologies.

Wasserman and Faust. 1994. Social network Analysis. Cambridge. paperback. Used as background reading.

In addition, there are many required journal articles. I have not made up a bookstore packet (it would be hundreds of dollars). Instead, I will use only readings that are available online. 

Recommended Books

Scott, J. 1999. Social Network Analysis: A Handbook. Sage.

Burt, R.S. 1992. Structural Holes. Harvard. paperback. We will be discussing 2 chapters specifically.

Degenne and Forse. 1999. Introducing Social Networks. Sage. paperback. 

Nohria and Eccles.(editors) 1992. Networks and Organizations. HBS press. paperback. We will be discussing a few chapters specifically.

Wasserman, S. & Galaskiewicz, J. 1994. Advances in Social Network Analysis. Sage.

Harary, F. 1969. Graph Theory. Addison-Wesley.

Knoke and Kuklinski. Network Analysis. Sage.

Valente, T.W. 1995. Network Models of the Diffusion of Innovations. Hampton Press. paperback. (Getting hard to find.)

Schedule of Assignments

The schedule of readings, homework assignments, and classes is on the web at http://www.analytictech.com/mb874/. Please note that one of the reasons I have put it on the web is to make it easy to change at a moment's notice. You MUST check it every week, if not every few days. Do NOT simply print it out at the beginning of the semester and trust that it will be valid for any given day. It is YOUR responsibility to visit the web frequently to find out what is due on any given day.


It is useless to try to contact me by calling my office phone. It is particularly useless to leave messages there. E-mail is the best medium (borgatts@bc.edu), followed by home phone (978 456 7356) and home fax (978 456 7373).