MCSN 2019 assignments

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Notes on the assignment schedule

The assignment schedule itself will be developed as the course progresses, in consultation with students and according to student feedback. Please check back often. New assignments will be posted the previous week.

Remember that all assignments are to be submitted via eClass ( - not by email or hardcopy. (On eClass you'll find a single submission link for each day.) They are due before class on the day assigned (e.g. by 11 am). Without an approved excuse late work will decremented 3 percentage points per day or fraction thereof, and make-up quizzes will not be given without such excuse. Please see syllabus on for the details.

Some homework answers consist of prose, while others require network diagrams. You can prepare diagrams in your word processor (for instance, see MS Word's "Drawing" toolbar), but far better to prepare them as Pajek ".net" files. Or hand-draw and submit images if appropriate. Note that all assignments are to be submitted via eClass in a single upload, so if you have more than one file zip them all together in some logical way.

On the readings: ESNAP and other books

When reading ESNAP be sure to try out all the applications and exercises using Pajek on your own computer! These practical applications are very important both for understanding concepts, and fluency with the software. If you have problems, ask!

It's also important just to play - try things! Have fun with it. The worst that can happen is it'll crash. (But note that if you reset options they may stick around the next session.)

I suggest optional readings by reference to ESNAP chapters they complement. You may also like to browse these optional books. Wasserman and Faust contains more rigorous explanations of all the topics in ESNAP; I haven't marked these as optional readings, but feel free to refer to their Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications as needed. Likewise, browse Hanneman and Riddle's Introduction to social network methods, which covers largely the same material as ESNAP but permuted (and using software that runs only on Windows machines).

Books and Software

The following abbreviations are used to indicate books for readings in the table below. All readings are online; most are available on Rutherford Reserve and several are also at the SUB bookstore. (For additional sources see


(See book list above for direct links to online books)

Week Date Topics and Assignments Date Topics and Assignments
1 03-Sep Introductions and SN exercise. Intro to MCSN as Ethnomusicology. Social structure, social networks, SNA. Examples in music culture. Course mechanics: 3 streams (SNA, readings, project). Tools: course wiki, eClass, Pajek, readings, reading reviews, quizzes, assignments. Survey. 05-Sep Read: Crossley ch. 1; skim Barabasi ch. 1. Install Pajek on your computer. (Let me know if you have trouble - I can help.) Submit (on eClass): Barabasi ch. 1 homework, but applied to MUSIC networks. Submit (also eClass): About Me. (all submissions on eClass:
2 10-Sep Read ESNAP prefaces & ch. 1 ("Looking for Social Structure"), completing all the exercises as you go, including applications via Pajek (don't worry if you don't understand something or can't quite finish; we'll discuss). Also read Crossley ch. 2 (selectively, to reinforce concepts - you don't have to absorb the whole thing right away), and watch the short video Connecting with Networks: Mathematics Illuminated. For fun: play around with the game Planaritify, available for iOS or Android 12-Sep Quiz #1: SNA basics, based on definitions. I will ask questions very similar to those in ESNAP 1.6 (but not necessarily multiple choice). Also: reread: Crossley, ch. 1, and submit review (2 parts: summary, and critique. 1-2 paragraphs max. Review Crossley chapter 2 if you didn't finish it for last Tuesday. This will also provide good review for the quiz. Also in class: one-mode (friends) vs two mode nets (e.g. bands and venues; musicians and bands; youtube videos and likes...), how to generate the former from the latter, and some examples (starting with the class survey and including also Netlogo web) to stir your thinking about research projects.).
3 17-Sep Read ESNAP ch. 2 ("Attributes and Relations"), completing all exercises as you go, and trying out every operation in Pajek. Also review/reread Crossley ch. 2 (finish it if you didn't do that last week). Begin to think about possible projects (we'll discuss on Thursday), and whether you'd like to carry out a survey or mine existing data. In class we'll go over ESNAP together. I'll also review the quiz. 19-Sep Discussion: your project ideas. Everyone will present their ideas for feedback from the class. Submit: your idea in a single paragraph: define the network, its significance, how you plan to collect the data, and what basic questions you seek to answer? Also submit: the network, partitions, and vectors you created on Tuesday (finish them up first). Note: on I've listed a bunch of SNA datasets and ideas for research on music networks; please review for possible inspiration.
4 24-Sep Read ESNAP ch. 3 ("Cohesive Subgroups"), completing all exercises as you go, and trying out every operation in Pajek. Also download Alex Arena's jazz musician collaboration dataset and associated information, and analyze the network for cohesion, answering the following questions: (1) how dense is the network overall? (2) what is the average degree? (3) can you extract subnetworks that are even more dense? (hint: use a degree partition); (4) how many components are there? (5) (if you have time) analyze for k-cores (and have a look at the associated paper, part of the download) Notes on Cohesive Subgroups 26-Sep Read Shin, Eui Hang, and Joong-Hwan Oh. 2002. “Changing Patterns of Social Network Structure in Composer-Singer Relationships: A Case Study of the Korean Popular Music Industry, 1927–1997.” East Asia 20 (1): 24–53. Submit (on eClass) a two part (two paragraph) review: (a) Summary: What is the article about? What are the authors' questions, data sources, methods, results, and interpretations? (b) Critique: What are its limitations? Biases in data or approach? What other questions could have been asked? How could someone build on this research? NB: The article is free when you are on campus or logged in via the library proxy. If you're still being asked to pay go to and search for the journal using the "search for eJournals" link, then find the specific volume (20) and issue (1), Spring 2002. It's good to learn how to do this - our library is superb and you'll find most journals you need online!
5 01-Oct Read ESNAP ch. 4 ("Sentiments and Friendship"), completing all exercises as you go, and trying out every operation in Pajek. In class we'll review chapters 3 and 4 with some "lab" experiments in class, using random networks. Optional: watch Connected: How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer on network science, and try the small world demo I showed you in class as well as Six Degrees of Kanye West, Oracle of Bacon, and Band to Band. Notes on Sentiments and Friendships 03-Oct Read: Crossley ch. 3 ("Totally wired") and submit (via eClass) a brief summary/critique (1-2 paragraphs maximum), along with the spreadsheet from the random network assignment we did in class last Tuesday (if you didn't finish it, try to complete it; if you weren't in class on Tuesday please do this assignment, following the instructions given in the foregoing link.) (you may have to zip files together to submit all your work using the single submission link). Submit: project proposal draft using this form (not via eClass) You will need to elaborate the proposal you submitted last time.
6 08-Oct Read ESNAP ch. 5 ("Affiliations"), completing all exercises as you go, and trying out every operation in Pajek. Notes on Affiliations 10-Oct Quiz #2 (covering roughly ESNAP chapters 1-5). Review for quiz #2 Note: there's no homework to be submitted for today - just prepare for the quiz. Note also that as a rule I have inserted a homework submission link for every Thursday on eClass, but if there's no assignment you don't have to submit anything! :)
7 15-Oct Read ESNAP ch. 6 ("Center and Periphery"), completing all exercises as you go, and trying out every operation in Pajek. Notes on centrality. Watch Connected: How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer 17-Oct Submit a review of Connected: How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer on eClass: (a) what is network science? what network phenomena are discussed? to what fields is network science applied? (b) what do you think? Are the claims overblown? What are the limitations on application of networks to real-world problems? What possible applications can you suggest for music and its associated social networks? (c) Find one popular science article, website, or video on network science's applications to social groups (anywhere on the internet), briefly describe it and include its link in your review - we'll look at these in class. Also submit: project proposal rewrite following review of feedback, using the same form.
8 22-Oct Submit this assignment, reviewing basic concepts. We'll review the review and we may try a few experiments with small world networks, time allowing. (I'm not handing back the quiz yet because someone is yet to take it for the first time.) 24-Oct Quiz #2 redux. I will give you the very same quiz #2 again, except perhaps with some questions deleted to make it shorter.
9 29-Oct Read ESNAP ch. 9 ("Prestige"), completing all exercises as you go, and trying out every operation in Pajek. Notes on Prestige This will likely be our last ESNAP chapter, and quiz #3 will help you to absorb recent concepts (centrality, prestige) so that you can apply them in your research projects. 31-Oct Submit: annotated project bibliography (8 scholarly sources for Music 466; 12 scholarly sources for Music 566; 1-2 paragraph annotations per source). Do not include encyclopedia entries (except possibly from very specialized encyclopedias), popular press articles, or websites. Avoid tertiary sources such as method books or textbooks. Focus on secondary sources that deal with data directly: scholarly books, book chapters, and journal articles. Use my search guide to locate these sources. Also Submit: link to your online survey (using Google Forms) if you're running a survey (I would like to help you test it out!); a detailed methodology for data collection (from the www, etc.) if not. Also submit: a one page project paper outline. This can be a hierarchical list of sections and subsections (and maybe sub-subsections), each with a title. Include the following top-level sections (you may add subsections to each): Basic Aim and Significance; Background (music area, SNA); Research Questions; Research Methods (data gathering, and analysis); Results; Discussion. Note that this is a draft only ; you may change it later.
10 05-Nov Read "Symbolic versus commercial success among British female composers," by Siobhan McAndrew and Martin Everett, pp. 61-88, Chapter 4 in Crossley. Submit a review on eClass. 07-Nov Quiz #3. Focus: Centrality (chapter 6) and Prestige (chapter 9). Review basic concepts from these chapters: degree, closeness, and betweenness, along with related concepts, from chapter 6 (don't worry about eigenvector and assortativity); indegree, input domain, and proximity prestige, along with related concepts, from chapter 9. Be sure you can answer questions in sections 6.8 and 9.8; quiz questions will be similar. I may also include just a few questions very similar to those of quiz #2, so review that quiz (you have the answer sheet) and relevant sections of chapters 3,4,5 as well. But the focus will be chapters 6 and 9.
11 12-Nov No class (Reading Week). Work on your research projects! 14-Nov No class (Reading Week) Work on your research projects!
12 19-Nov Quiz #3 redux (a chance to improve your scores). I will give you 3-4 questions taken verbatim from the previous iteration of quiz #3 on Nov 7. Here are the answer keys for both Quiz #2 and #3. Please review the latter especially carefully. If you are satisfied with your previous score on quiz #3 you don't have to attend this class; your score will remain as is. If you take both quizzes I'll combine your two scores, weighting the former 30% and the latter 70% in the final score. Also read "Between social worlds and local scenes: Patterns of collaboration in francophone rap music," by Karim Hammou, pp. 104-120, Chapter 6 in Crossley. (Just read for today. You'll submit a review on Thursday.) 21-Nov Read: "Tastes, ties and social space: Exploring Sheffield’s folk singing world," by Fay Hield and Nick Crossley, pp. 189-213, Chapter 10 in Crossley. Submit (on eClass) a review of Crossley chapters 6 and 10, assigned this week. What are the main points of each? What are the strengths and weakness of each chapter, and how do they compare with one another? How is SNA combined with other approaches? Just 2-3 paragraphs total. Think about how you may apply these ideas for your papers. Also watch Nick Christakis, The Hidden Influence of Social Networks (it's only 20 min) and think about it critically. What can you learn by understanding human life as constituting a vast invisible network? Critique his approach. (You don't have to submit anything in writing, but I hope the video will provide you with ideas.)
13 26-Nov Student presentations: Brynn, Isaac, Calista 28-Nov Student presentations: Shruti, Badi, Bujun, Leah
14 03-Dec Student presentations: Aanchel, Xi, Thomas, Noah 05-Dec Last day of class! Student presentations: Kirsten, Keala, Nargis, Jaehun. Be sure to upload your project presentations via eClass by today at 11 am. For Google Slides presentations you can simply submit the link.
15 10-Dec 12-Dec
16 17-Dec Final paper due 19-Dec Happy Holidays!!