Summer Course - 9th Edition

International summer course "Theory, Methods and Applications of Personal Networks" in Barcelona (2 ECTS*)


Academic Code: 2287/9

When: July 3-7, 2017

Where: Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain: Computer Lab "P-33" (B5B/-131), Faculty of Arts/Faculty of Psychology.

Confirmed lecturers (this list may change): Andreas Herz (University of Hildesheim), Jürgen Lerner (University of Konstanz), Miranda Lubbers (Autonomous University of Barcelona), José Luis Molina (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Raffaele Vacca (University of Florida), and others. 

Registration deadline: June 26th, 2017.



The aim of this summer course is to enable graduate students and researchers in the social sciences to create, compare and critique personal network research designs. The course is a mix of lectures and computer sessions. On the first morning, we will discuss the basic definitions and central concepts in personal network research and we will briefly relate personal networks (sometimes called egocentric networks) with various theoretical streams in the social sciences. This will give students an understanding of the different requirements that researchers may pose to their designs or instruments. We will then introduce the basic steps of measurement of personal networks. The second morning is focused on delineating the networks. Students will be introduced to the variety of name generators and alternative approaches used in the social sciences, which will be compared with respect to contents, the characteristics of the measured networks and ties, the reliability and validity of the measures, and respondent burden. On the third morning, we will discuss the measurement of basic name interpreters, such as tie strength, roles, and geographical locations, and the measurement of network structure. On the fourth day, we will discuss the statistical analysis of personal networks with R, and the fifth day is dedicated to qualitative analysis. The participants will have ample opportunity to discuss their own research projects using personal networks.

In the afternoons, the students will have hands-on sessions with two computer programs that were specifically developed for the computer-assisted collection, visualization and analysis of extended personal networks, with both quantitative and qualitative aspects: EgoNet and Vennmaker. They will also learn how to visualize networks with visone and how to produce clustered graphs that can visually summarize the characteristics of a set of personal networks.

This summer course is intended for PhD students and researchers interested in designing their own personal network studies. We expect them to have a basic understanding of general social science methodology (e.g., questionnaire construction, concepts of validity and reliability) and to participate in class discussions. We ask participants to submit in advance a summary of their research aims and learning objectives for the course (max. 1 page), to help us understand their interests and focus their attention to specific readings. Students are strongly encouraged to do the suggested readings before taking the course. The sessions will be conducted in English. At the end of each session participants are asked to complete a task and send it to the lecturers. The participants who complete the scheduled tasks can obtain an official recognition of credits (*).

Learning objectives:

By the end of the course, participants should understand:

  • For what aims personal network analysis has been used
  • How to compare and critique different methods for measuring personal networks
  • How to develop a research design for testing personal network effects
  • How to collect personal network data with paper-and-pencil and CAPI methods (in more and less structured ways)
  • How to visualize personal network data
  • How to analyze quantitative and qualitative personal network data

More information:

Suggested prior readings:

Chua, V., J. Madej, & B. Wellman (2011). Personal Communities: The World According To Me. In J. Scott & P. J. Carrington (Eds), The SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis, pp. 101-115.  London: Sage Publications.

Bidart, C. & J. Charbonneau (2011). How to Generate Personal Networks: Issues and Tools for a Sociological Perspective. Field Methods, 23 (3), 266-286.

Course materials will be available in the local folder "Social Networks".



Monday, July 3rd

Tuesday, July 4th

Wednesday, July 5th

Thursday, July 6th

Friday, July 7th

10:00- 14:00

Welcome and introduction to the course

Introduction to personal network analysis (Miranda J. Lubbers & José Luis Molina)

Name generators: Contents, reliability and validity, characteristics of measured networks (Miranda J. Lubbers)


Name interpreters and interconnectors (Miranda J. Lubbers)


Comparing personal networks with clustered graphs (EgoNet - visone) (Jürgen Lerner)

Quantitative analysis of personal networks with R (Raffaele Vacca)

Qualitative analysis of personal networks (Andreas Herz)

Final discussion








Workshop - Data collection and visualization with the software EgoNet
(José Luis Molina)

Workshop - Data collection and visualization with the software Vennmaker (Miranda J. Lubbers & José Luis Molina)


Touristic visit

Group dinner

Quantitative analysis of personal networks with R (Raffaele Vacca)



During the morning sessions, there will be a coffee break of 30 minutes.

Fees: 600€, to be paid to the Postgraduate School by web. The fees includes course fees, five lunches, and a group dinner. 

How to apply: Registration is a two-step process. In you are interested in participating in the summer course, please send your vitae and a brief description of your research questions or interests (max. 1 page) to Once accepted in the Summer course, you can register via an online form. Support for registration is available at + 34 93 581 43 28 (Emma Peiró  ep.automatricula ad

Application for a tuition waiver: We offer a tuition waiver for one student each year. Graduate students who are currently not enjoying a grant for their PhD studies can apply for this tuition waiver, which covers the course fees (600€), by applying for participation before the 21st of April and mentioning the application for the tuition waiver in the email. On May 1st, 2017, applicants will be informed about their position in the ranking (based on the research proposal).

Accommodation: Accommodation can be found at the university campus, where you can either book an apartment or a room in the Hotel Campus ( In case you wish to rent an apartment, please contact with ines.zamora ad for a special rate filling this form. There are other hotels close to the campus but they are not connected with public transport. We therefore strongly recommend to either book an accommodation on the campus itself, or in Barcelona city or Sabadell (two stops away from the UAB, see for example the student residence of Sabadell

The best way for getting to the UAB from the center of Barcelona is by train with the "Ferrocarils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, FGC", lines S2 and S55. There is a train station for the University called "Universitat Autònoma". From Catalunya Square (at the Centre of Barcelona) the trip takes about 30 minutes. From the station to "Facultat de Lletres" the walk takes about 15 minutes. For getting to the "Vila" (where the accomodation facilities are) it is better to leave the train at the station "Bellaterra" (the stop just before "Universitat Autonoma"), and then walk for 5-10 minutes. You can purchase a T-10 (2 zones) ticket (approximately 20€), which allows you to take 10 trips, sufficient to get to the UAB the five days of the course. This ticket allows the combination of train, metro or bus within one hour and a half after starting the trip.

There is another connection by the national railway company Renfe to the station named "Cerdanyola-Universitat", but it is a bit far from the Campus, so we strongly recommend you to take the FGC line instead.

How to get to the Airport from Catalonia Square ("Plaça Catalunya"): Take the "Aerobus" shuttle, which you will find in front of El Corte Ingles (a big mall). You will note that there are two separate queues – one for the Aerobus (A1) to Terminal 1 (T1) and one for the Aerobus (A2) to Terminal 2 (T2). The trip takes about 40'.

It is also possible to get the Airport by Metro. Select "airport" fare at the ticket vending machine (4,5€), and take the green Line 3 until "Zona universitària" station where is possible to get the Line 9 until de airport. The trip from Catalonia Square takes about 60'.

Barcelona: Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, has a rich cultural heritage and a relaxed atmosphere. We recommend you to add a few days to your stay, to stroll through the Gothic Quarter with its labyrinth of narrow streets and beautiful squares and churches, to admire some of the highlights of the Modernist architecture (Parc Güell, Sagrada FamiliaPalau de la Música, la Pedrera...), to take a dive in the Mediterranean sea or eat fish with your hands in one of the many seaside restaurants, to take a day trip to the natural park of Montserrat, to taste Spanish "jamón" and other delicacies, perhaps even visit Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona, and of course to enjoy Barcelona´s vibrant night life. You can check the tourist information about Barcelona to see the cultural agenda, tips for places to go, shop, eat and sleep.

Climate: The average day temperature is about 29 degrees Celsius in July. The chance of rain are relatively low in this month. The computer room, restaurant, hotel rooms and apartments all have AC.

Lunch and dinner time: Please note that lunch and dinner tend to be taken later than in other European countries. Most restaurants open from 1pm to 4pm for lunch, and from 8pm until 11pm for dinner. Do as the locals do and take a little "almuerzo" to survive until lunch and a "merienda" to survive until dinner time. Shops in the city center have long opening hours, usually from 10am to at least 8 or 8.30pm.

A detailed guide with practical information about Barcelona city, accomodation, transport and the UAB campus can be downloaded here.

(*) This document is issued after request by the participants at the end of the course at the Postgraduate School, it has an extra cost of about 79.55€ and it takes about 10 days to be issued. All participants will receive an official certificate of attendance by the organizers. It is possible to request a certificate to the Postgraduate School as well.

Earlier editions of the summer school:

Edition '15 [htm]

Edition '13 [htm]

Edition '12 [htm]

Edition '11 [htm]

Edition '10 [htm]

Edition '09 [htm]

Edition '08 [htm]

Edition '07 [htm]


Campus d'excel·lència internacional U A B