Introduction to social network methods


This page is part of an on-line text by Robert A. Hanneman (Department of Sociology, University of California, Riverside) and Mark Riddle (Department of Sociology, University of Northern Colorado).  Feel free to use and distribute this textbook, with citation. Your comments and suggestions are very welcome. Send me e-mail.

This book began as a set of reading notes as Hanneman sought to teach himself the basics of social network analysis.  It then became a set of lecture notes for students in his undergraduate course in social network analysis.  Through a couple extensions and revisions, it has evolved to cover more of the basic approaches to the analysis of social network data.  Its current form, written in 2005, covers most of the algorithms and approaches that are collected in the computer package UCINET, version 6.85.  Mark Riddle has added expertise in the statistical modeling of network data, study questions and problems, and connections to a variety of empirical literature that uses the techniques discussed here.

Our goal in preparing this book is to provide a very basic introduction to the core ideas of social network analysis, and how these ideas are implemented in the methodologies that many social network analysts use.  The book is distributed free on the Internet in the hope that it may reach a diverse audience, and that the core ideas and methods of this field may be of interest.  The book may also be suitable as course-support for undergraduate or introductory graduate training in social network analysis.  While this text is not a user's guide to UCINET (which has excellent documentation in its help files), it may be of assistance to users working with that particular software package.

We hope that you will find things here that may stimulate your imagination.  Social network analysis is a continuously and rapidly evolving field, and is one branch of the broader study of networks and complex systems.  The concepts and techniques of social network analysis are informed by, and inform the evolution of these broader fields.  We hope that this text will serve as a starting point.

table of contents of the book