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Panayiotis Zaphiris <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 29 Jun 2007 00:38:02 +0100
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Introduction to Social Network Analysis
Dr. Panayiotis Zaphiris, Ulrike Pfeil
City University, School of Informatics, Centre for Human – Computer
Interaction Design, UK

Tutorial website:
Registration Information:

What is Social Network Analysis?

Social networks develop when actors meet and form some kind of
relation between each other. Hereby actors are often people, but can
also be nations, organizations, objects etc. Social Network Analysis
(SNA) focuses on patterns of relations between these actors. It seeks
to describe networks of relations as fully as possible. This includes
teasing out the prominent patterns in such networks, tracing the flow
of information through them, and discovering what effects these
relations and networks have on people and organizations. It can
therefore be used to study network patterns of organizations, ideas,
and people that connected via various means in an online environment.
Figure 1 shows an example of SNA visualization (sociogram).
Why do we need it?

The shift of the internet from being an information pool to becoming
more and more a social setting requires HCI scholars and practitioners
to take on board new methods and techniques in order to study social
interaction, connection and links between people, sites, ideas and
organizations in computer-mediated environments. This topic becomes
even more important these days with the increasing popularity of
social networking websites (e.g. YouTube, MySpace, MMORPGs etc.) and
the research interest in studying them. As people increasingly use
online communities for social interaction, new methods are needed to
study these phenomena. SNA gives an opportunity to study the complex
patterns of online communication.

This tutorial provides an overview of this analytic technique and
demonstrates how it can be used in HCI (especially computer-mediated
communication and CSCW) research and practice. The tutorial is divided
into two parts, each of which is structured in small groups to
maximize interaction among participants

In the first part, participants will be introduced to the basic
concepts of SNA, and get familiar with the terminology and definitions
of SNA. This will include:

    * Introduction into the components and characteristics of social networks
    * Information about relational data that is used for SNA along
with the different ways that the data can be presented
    * Presentation of the different measurements of network
characteristics within SNA
    * Discussion of different approaches towards SNA

The second part will address the practical uses of SNA. Through a
series of interactive exercises, a number of case studies will be
demonstrated and discussed. Case studies will be draw from diverse
areas (e.g. use of SNA to study age differences in CMC, use of SNA in
universal design and research). Ways of using SNA to study new forms
of CMC such as MMORPGs, Wikis, blogs etc. will also be discussed.
Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this tutorial, participants will:

    * Be able to understand the basics of social network analysis, its
terminology and background
    * Be able to transform communication data to network data
    * Know practically how social network analysis (SNA) can be
applied to HCI (especially CMC) analysis
    * Get familiar with the use of standard SNA tools and software
    * Be able to use SNA to derive practical and useful information
for the design an innovative and successful online community.

Target Audience

We welcome researchers and practitioners interested in computer
mediated communication, universal design, and other domains of
application of that social network analysis.
Tutor Biographies

Dr. Panayiotis Zaphiris is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for
Human-Computer Interaction Design, School of Informatics of City
University, London. His research interests lie in HCI with an emphasis
on inclusive design and social aspects of computing. He has a strong
interested in internet related research (web usability, mathematical
modelling of browsing behaviour in hierarchical online information
systems, online communities, e-learning, web based digital libraries
and social network analysis of online human-to-human interactions).
Panayiotis Zaphiris has published over 80 publications in prominent
journals (e.g. Zaphiris, P., Sarwar, R. (2006) Trends, Similarities
and Differences in the Usage of Teen and Senior Public Online
Newsgroups. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI),
13(3), 2006, 403-422. ACM Press.) and has presented his work in
numerous conferences. He is the editor of 4 books including the recent
one: Lambropoulos, N., Zaphiris, P. (2006) User-Centered Design of
Online Learning Communities. Hershey, Idea Group Publishing. More

Ulrike Pfeil is a PhD student at City University London. She has an
MSc in HCI from the same university and a BSc in Information Design
from Germany. Her research interests include social aspects of
computing, especially in computer-mediated communication. She
specifically investigates the phenomenon of empathy, especially how
characteristics of empathy change in online environments compared to
offline ones.