Sociology 204: Social Networks

Princeton University
Fall 2010
Monday and Wednesday: 10:00am-10:50am
Location: McCosh 28
Instructor: Matthew Salganik
Preceptors: Karen Levy and Lauren Senesac

This course provides students an introduction to the study of social networks. We will focus on understanding the causes and consequences of the patterns of relationships between individuals. Topics will include the small-world puzzle (six degrees of separation), the strength of weak ties, centrality, data collection, and the spread of diseases and fads.

Student grades will be based on the following:

Numeric grades will be converted to letter grades at the end of the semester based on a standard scale.

There is one required text for the class: Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age by Duncan Watts. Other readings are available on the web or from blackboard. To understand the flow of ideas, students should do the readings for each lecture in the order that they are listed on the syllabus.

Course introduction (9/20/10)

The connected age and the small world problem (9/22/10)

More on the small world problem and some history (9/27/10)

Understanding the small world phenomena (9/29/10)

Degree distributions and power laws (10/4/10)

Affiliation networks/2-mode data (10/6/10)

Social search and the small world problem (10/11/10)

Spread of disease in networks (10/13/10)

The "madness" of crowds (10/18/10)

Thresholds, cascades, and predictability (10/20/10)

Cascades and fads in cultural markets (10/25/10)

Midterm Exam (10/27/10)

Strength of weak ties (11/8/10)

More strength of weak ties (11/10/10)

Contagion of health behavior (11/15/10)

Experimental studies of contagion (11/17/10)

Friends of friends (11/22/10)

Sampling, social networks, and hidden populations most at-risk for HIV/AIDS (11/24/10)

Homophily (11/29/10)

Friendship formation (12/01/10)

Core discussion networks (12/6/10)

Structural holes, closure, and social capital (12/8/10)

Digital traces of communication: mobile phones (12/13/10)

Digital traces of communication: Facebook and Twitter (12/15/10)

Useful links