I recently discovered Gary Weissman’s excellent post on Grey’s Anatomy Network of Sexual Relations and I felt inspired. For those who haven’t heard of the television show before, Grey’s Anatomy is a widely popular, award-winning prime-time medical drama airing on ABC which has received no shortage of critical acclaim. Meeting conventional medical drama expectations, the show quite regularly features members of its attractive cast “hooking up.” Or so I am told. In an effort to teach medical students some basic social network lessons, Weissman produced a network data set on the show’s sexual contacts between characters. Though I’m not particularly fond of the show and both sexual and fictional networks lie outside my research interests, Weissman’s post served as a remarkable demonstration of network analysis for pedagogical purposes.
Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to help instruct an intensive eight-day workshop on the subject of social network analysis. Affiliated with the Sociology of Education and Science Laboratory at the Higher School of Economics—Saint Petersburg, the workshop sought to recreate the atmosphere of ICPSR summer courses. This workshop was the first of its kind in Russia to offer social networks training as a summer methods course. Continue reading