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Together with Timothy Graham from University of Queensland, I am running 
a 5-day big data analytics course at the upcoming ACSPRI Winter Program 
(, University of Queensland, 
Brisbane, 29 June - 3 July.  The course is R-based (with Gephi for 
visualisations).  A short description of the course is below.  The early 
bird rate is available until 6th May.

This course introduces students to the collection and analysis of 
socially-generated 'big data' using the R statistical software and Gephi 
network visualisation software.

Big data involves data on: (1) people (social web) e.g. online social 
networks (e.g. Facebook), microblogs (e.g. Twitter); (2) information 
(WWW) e.g. web pages, clickstreams; (3) things (sensor web) e.g. phones, 
temperature sensors, and (4) places (geospatial web) e.g. geology, land 
use maps.

The focus of this course is on data from the social web and the WWW. 
Students will learn how to: (1) collect data from web pages, Twitter and 
Facebook; (2) construct, analyse and visualise networks of people and 
organisations (social networks) and terms (semantic networks); (3) 
extract and analyse text data; (4) conduct temporal analysis, (5) filter 
and sample from large datasets; (6) identify and engage with advanced 
techniques for dealing with very large datasets.

We will focus on three sources of network and text data: Twitter, 
Facebook and the WWW. We will look at:

  * Who are the actors, and what actor attributes are available for them?
  * How can we find connections between actors, and how can we use
    social network analysis to understand the social scientific meaning
    of such connections?
  * What text can be attributed to these actors, and what does analysis
    of this text tell us about the actors and society as whole?
  * How can we study behaviour over time, identifying significant events
    or trends?
  * What are some of the key methodological issues for using social
    media and WWW data to study individual and collective behaviour, and
    how can we address such limitations?

The course will also provide an opportunity for students to learn about 
examples of 'best practice' social science big data research, and thus 
see how these data and techniques are already being used in social science.

More information:


Dr Robert Ackland
Associate Professor and Deputy Director (Education), Australian 
Demographic and Social Research Institute <>
Leader, Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks (VOSON) Lab 
Australian National University

My book:
Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in 
the Digital Age 
(SAGE Publications)

Information about the Master of Social Research (Social Science of the 
Internet specialisation):

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