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Communication Network Analysis in Public Health Programs


East Baltimore
4th term
Health Behavior and Society
4 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  10:30 - 11:50am
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
L. Robin Newcomb

It is imperative in this digital age that public health communicators emphasize the use of digital media to engage stakeholders, constituent publics, governments, and organizations. This course presents an approach to analyze and visualize the structure of social networks, whether those networks are online or offline, to better understand the discourse surrounding a public health issue or topic. Students learn to identify influencers and authorities and to identify those who can bridge connections between groups. Understanding the structure and dynamics of social networks provides the basis for effective strategic communication planning and assessment.

Introduces the theory and method of network analysis, its application to public health, emphasizing the dissemination of public health information and the transmission of disease, and the influence of networks on health-related behavior. Consists of class lectures, discussions, labs, reading materials, and problem sets using free software, including Netlytic, Communalytic, and Gephi, among other packages that will be introduced (software will be available for download to your PC or Mac computer, or access to it will be available online.)

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define essential terms related to social network concepts and analytic approaches
  2. Describe methods for measuring the properties of social networks
  3. Interpret books and articles that incorporate social network terminology, concepts, and analytic approaches
  4. Apply social network concepts and analytic approaches in their own research
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 60% Assignments
  • 40% Final Project

Instructor Consent:

No consent required