Summerschool 2021: Introduction to Social Data Science
The objective of this course is to learn how to analyze, gather and work with quantitative social science data. Increasingly, social data that capture how people behave and interact with each other, is available online in new, challenging forms and formats. This opens up the possibility of gathering large amounts of interesting data, to investigate existing theories and new phenomena, provided that the analyst has sufficient computer literacy while at the same time being aware of the promises and pitfalls of working with various types of data.
In addition to core computational concepts, the class exercises will focus on tools and methods for the following topics:
1. Gathering data: Learning how to scrape data directly through content in web pages on the internet as well as interacting with application programming interfaces (API).
2. Data manipulation tools: Learning how to go from unstructured data to a dataset ready for analysis. This includes to import, preprocess, transform and merge data, including text data.
3. Data analysis: Learning best practice when visualizing and describing data in different steps of a data analysis. Participants will learn how to implement statistical learning algorithms and how to apply these for prediction and interpret these models in practice.
After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:
- Understand how and what data that can be used to answer typical questions in the social sciences.
- Account for benefits and challenges of working with different kinds of social data.
- Identify and account for strengths and weaknesses of linear statistical prediction algorithms.
- Discuss ethical challenges related to the use of different types of data.
- Discuss how prediction tools relate to existing empirical tools within social sciences such as linear regression for statistical inference.
- Use data manipulation and data visualization to clean, transform, scrape, merge, visualize and analyze social data.
- Parse and structure text data and conduct basic analysis.
- Construct new datasets by scraping web pages and work with data APIs.
- Estimate, apply and interpret machine learning algorithms and models in practice.
- Conceptualize and execute projects in social data science.
- Independently master and implement computational methods and methods for working with social and behavioral data in the social science literature.
- Present modern data science methods needed for working with computational social science and social data in practice.
- Ensure legal and ethical procedures for data collection and management are satisfied.
The course will in the two first weeks consist of lectures and
exercises with problem solving. The lectures will focus on the
broad topics covered in the course. In the exercise classes we will
get our hands dirty and present data science methods needed for
collecting and analyzing real-world data. The student must be aware
that the exercises do not have a large amount of time for learning
how to code.
The third week of the summer school will consist of peer feedback, guidance and project writing.
Restrictions due to pandemic crisis:
The teaching in this course may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online due to a pandemic crisis like COVID-19. In case of changes and further information, please read the study messages in KUnet or the announcements in the course room on Absalon (for enrolled students).
Main textbooks are:
- Python for Data Analysis, 2nd ed. (2017) by Wes McKinney
- Python Machine Learning, 2nd ed. (2017) by Sebastian Raschka & Vahid Mirjalili
- Big by Bit - Social research in the digital age by Matthew J. Salganik
A comprehensive reading list as well as detailed information about the course will be available on the websites:
For 2021 reading list see:
This course is available to students and practitioners who are
interested in social data science.
The course builds on a wide range of techniques. To facilitate learning these techniques, we expect that students have acquired basic programming skills with Python before teaching begins. We emphasize that although coding experience in Python is strongly recommended you can follow our integrated learning module, “Assignment 0”, where you will learn to code. Every student is asked to complete this module before the course begins. This will become available on Absalon as well as the website https://isdsucph.github.io/isds2022/
In addition to programming experience, we recommend students to have basic knowledge of regression analysis, e.g. from Econometrics I at the Department of Economic, University of Copenhagen or similar. This will be useful when learning about machine learning.
- In the first and second week: Lectures and exercise classes (from 9 AM to 5 PM including breaks). Students can participate in meetings with the TAs for guidance of the exam project.
- In the third week: Students can participate in meetings with the TAs for guidance of the exam project.
Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of classrooms please press the link under "Timetable"/"Se skema" at the right side of this page.
You can find the similar information in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-B5-5F21; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: "List - Week Days"
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn – Week 31-5”
Press: “ View Timetable”
Please be aware:
- Please be aware that the workload of the summer school correspond to a fuldtime course at the Master programme in Economics, University of Copenhagen.
- It is not possible to change course after the last registration period has expired.
- The schedule of the lectures and the exercise classes can be changed without the participants´ acceptance. If this happens you can see the new schedule in your personal timetable at KUnet, in the app myUCPH and through the links in the right side and the link above.
- It is the students´s own responsibility continuously throughout the study to stay informed about their study, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the curriculum of the study programme, the study pages at KUnet, student messages, the course description, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, the personal schema at KUnet and myUCPH app etc.
The students receive:
- Written feedback from assignments (correction and solution).
- Written feedback from responses to quizzes.
- Oral feedback and supervision sessions by TAs.
- Feedback by their peers on the project assignment.
Foreign students and guests: Information about admission requirements, application, tuition fee, registration at Study Economics.
Please read the curriculum before enrolment.
Gæste- og enkelfagsstuderende: Tilmelding via Uddannelse i Økonomi.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
Written assignment, 10 daysThe exam is a project paper. The project can be written individually or in groups of 3 to 4 participants.
Please be aware of:
- The rules for co-writing assignments as stated in the curriculum.
- The plagiarism rules must be complied.
- The project paper must be written in English.
- The groups are randomly assigned at the beginning of the course.
- All aids allowed
for the written exam.
Information about allowed aids for the re-examination, please go to the section "Re-exam".
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
for the written exam.
An oral re-examination may be with external assessment.
Criteria for exam assessment
Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.
In order to obtain the top grade “12”, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.
In order to obtain the passing grade “02”, the student must in a satisfactory way be able to demonstrate a minimal acceptable level of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.
Single subject courses (day)
- Class Instruction
- Project work
- Course number
- 7,5 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
- Go to 'Signup' for
information about registration and enrollment.
Information about admission and tuition fee: Summer schools
Information om optagelse og evt betaling: Åbent Universitet
2nd to 24th of August, 2021
More info about
- teaching : Go to 'Remarks'
- exam: Go to 'Exam'
- Department of Economics, Study Council
- Department of Economics
- Faculty of Social Sciences
- Andreas Bjerre-Nielsen (3-636470427571666375306d7730666d)
- Joachim Kahr Rasmussen (3-7a7b825075737f7e3e7b853e747b)
Lectures: See ‘Course Coordinators’
- Nicklas Johansen
- Terne Sasha Thorn Jakobsen
Please read "Remarks" regarding the schedule of the teaching.
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