Qualitative Network Analysis

Institution: see Organisers & Supporters

Programme of study: International Research Workshop

Lecturer: Tom Töpfer (University of Bremen)

Date: Thursday, 14/09/17 (09.30 – 18.00)

Max. number of participants: 20

Credit Points: 5 CP for participating in the whole IRWS

Language of instruction: English


The growing field of Social Network Analysis (SNA) is dominated by mathematical reasoning. In recent years, however, shortcomings in the adequate interpretation of social meaning and actor-focused questions have led to more qualitative approaches that are often combined with quantitative techniques in mixed-methods designs. This workshop gives an overview of qualitative approaches and methods used in studying social networks and discusses their advantages and disadvantages.

Combining foundations of qualitative research and network analysis, participants will get an insight into fundamental theoretical and methodological concepts. We will outline basic principles used in qualitative network research and illustrate objectives and questions that are applicable with a qualitative perspective. The workshop introduces techniques and methods for qualitative data collection and analysis. In addition, we will illustrate practical implications by using empirical studies from a variety of research fields.

The format of the workshop relies on presentations of the basic concepts, concrete examples from research practice, hands-on strategies and open discussion slots. The workshop also provides the possibility to present own research projects of the participants dealing with qualitative network analysis. Therefore, participants are encouraged to hand in qualitative network material from own empirical projects in advance, so that their work can be discussed in the workshop.

Requirement of students: None.

Recommended literature and pre-readings:

  • Hollstein, Betina (2011): Qualitative Approaches. In: Scott, J. & Carrington, P. J. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis. London/New Delhi: SAGE Publications (pp. 404–417).

You have to register for the 11th International Research Workshop to participate in this course.