Social Media Analysis

Note: This course will require a laptop and we recomend that you bring your own if possible. If you are interested in this course but do not have access to a Windows laptop, please contact ACSPRI staff or instructor Rob Ackland. You will need Excel 2007/10, Mozilla Firefox and NodeXL, which is free to download. Help will be provided in advance to ensure you have access to these programs.


This course will provide students with an introduction to social media analysis in the context of social research.  The course is designed for social researchers interested in social media, and covers methods of accessing and analysing digital trace data from websites, blogsites, Twitter and Facebook.  While there is emphasis on social networks (e.g. WWW hyperlink networks, follower networks in Twitter, friendship networks in Facebook), analysing text content from social media is also covered.  There will also be an introduction to using Virtual Worlds (e.g. Second Life and Massively Multiplayer Online Games) and online experiments for social research.  Analytic approaches include social network analysis and text content analysis.  The course also provides practical training in two software tools that can be used for social research using social media data: VOSON (for hyperlink network construction and analysis) and NodeXL (an Excel 2007/2010 template for social media network analysis).


Level 2 - runs over 5 days

Prof. Robert Ackland is based in the School of Sociology at the Australian National University (ANU). He was awarded his PhD in economics from the ANU in 2001, and he has been researching online social and organisational networks since 2002. He leads the Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks Lab ( which was established in 2005 and is advancing the social science of the Internet by conducting research, developing research tools, and providing research training. Robert has been teaching masters courses in online research methods and the social science of the internet since 2008 (undergraduate versions of the courses started in 2017) and in 2019 he began teaching a course on economic analysis of the digital economy. His book Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age (SAGE) was published in July 2013. He created the VOSON software for hyperlink network construction and analysis, which has been publicly available since 2006 and has been used by around 3000 researchers worldwide, and he is a co-creator of the vosonSML and VOSONDash R packages for collecting and analysing social media network and text data.

Course dates: Monday 1 July 2013 - Friday 5 July 2013
Course status: Course completed (no new applicants)
Week 2
Course fees
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Full time student Member: