wfsp2200  2022-2023  Bruxelles Woluwe

5.00 credits
20.0 h

  This learning unit is not being organized during year 2022-2023.

Prerequisite:introductory course of sociology or sociology of health;
Credits et work load: 5ECTS, 20h
Other issues: this course is taught in English, in Louvain-La-Neuve per 3hr session.
Audience: wesp2228 is a course available on undergraduate of the Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences, Master in Public Health and Master in Sociology;

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
Main topics
Caring, informing  patients,  funding health care, clinical decision-making, team working and health care organisation are issues of interest for medical sociology.  This course helps the student to understand and analysie health care as sociological questions.  It addresses common issues in medical sociology such as health policies, health inequalities, illness experience, medical professions and doctor-patient relationships.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Learning outcomes
By the end of the course, the student will be able to :
  • Explain major social issues relatedto health and health care.
  • Analyzea health (care) problem from a sociological perspective.
  • Collect andanalyze data to address a health (care) question from social network analysis perspective
  • Identify,introduce and criticize an important paper of health sociology
  • To use theUCINET software to manage, explore, and analyze a social network data.
The course is the follow-up of the introductory course wfsp2102, introduction to medical sociology.  It trains the student in the use of social network research for analysing a health issue.  This is a course where you will understand what social  network research is about, you will practice social network analysis as applied to health, where  you will use a software to perform your analyses.
Learning outcomes
  • To understand key societal challenges of current medical sociology.
  • To  analyse health or medical issues with social network research.
  • To design and collect social network data.
  • To use UCINET for exploring and analysing social graphs.
  • To communicate about a paper in social network analysis as applied to health.
  • Introduction to Medical sociology and the relevance of social network analysis
  • Key concepts in social network analysis
  • Design of social network analysis
  • Exploring the network: graphs
  • Ego-level Metrics
  • Groups and communities
  • Topology
  • Contagion and peer-effects
Teaching methods
  • Lecture
  • Practice of UCINET and practice of data management.  
  • Every week, each student briefs the group on his/her  essay: concepts, data, analyses. At least once, each student presents two slides with the concept and method of the research question.
  • Weekly Assignments
Evaluation methods
Assessment is based on an essay (see below, 50%), and the weekly assignments (50%). The oral examination is devoted to the discussing your essay in relation with the course. 
The essay aims to confront the student to the practice of social network research. The student shows his/her skills to formulate a research question in relation with the literature, design a method, collect and/or analyze data and conclude about the relevance of the work done. Team of two students is allowed but this is not compulsory. 
The essay has the following outline: introduction (issue, literature review, research question); method (population, setting, sample, who-what-when; measures); results (descriptives stats, exploratory graphs; statistical analysis; topology of your networks); Discussion-conclusion (main findings; consistency with the literature; limits; conclusion).  The essay is assessed against 5 criteria: relevance of the research question; data collection effectiveness (even if using secondary source); quality of the graph exploration; appropriateness of data analysis; conclusion and reflexivity; the essay has a maximum of 6 pages (excluding references, appendices and TOC); he is uploaded on moodle.
Other information
The course is demanding : it requires regular homeworks, it involves the practice of data management and analysis, including the use of social network analysis software (ucinet and/or Igraph ) and it is taught in English.
  1. Carrington, P. J. and J. Scott (2011). The SAGE handbook of social network analysis. London, SAGE.
  2. Centola, D. (2011). "An experimental study of homophily in the adoption of health behavior." Science 334(6060): 1269-1272.
  3. Christakis, N. A. and J. H. Fowler (2010). Connected : the amazing power of social networks and how they shape our lives. London, HarperPress.
  4. Crossley Nick, Bellotti E, et al. Social Network analysis for ego-nets. Sage, Thousand Oaks, 2015.  Ebook disponible sur
  5. Dimaggio, P. and F. Garip (2012). "Network effects and social inequality." Annual Review of Sociology 38: 93-118.
  6. Knoke, D., et al. (2008). Social network analysis. Los Angeles, Sage Publications.
  7. Oakes, J. M. and J. S. Kaufman (2006). Methods in social epidemiology. San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Bass.
  8. Pescosolido BA. Of Pride and Prejudice: The role of sociology and social networks in integrating the health sciences. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2006;47(3):189-208.
  9. Provan, K. G., et al. (2005). "The Use of Network Analysis to Strengthen Community Partnerships." Public Administration Review 65(5): 603-613.
  10. Robins, G., et al. (2007). "An introduction to exponential random graph (p *) models for social networks." Social Networks 29(2): 173-191.
  11. Robins, G. (2015). Doing social network research : network-based research design for social scientists. London, SAGE
  12. Valente, T. W. (2010). Social networks and health models, methods, and applications. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  13. Valente, T. W. (2012). "Network Interventions." Science 337(6090): 49-53.
  14. Sweet D, Byng R, Webber M, Enki DG, Porter I, Larsen J, et al. Personal well-being networks, social capital and severe mental illness: exploratory study. The British journal of psychiatry  2017.
  15. Bogatti S, Everett M, Johnson J, Analyzing social networks, Sage, 2013.
Teaching materials
  • none
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Bachelor in Human and Social Sciences

Master [120] in Sociology

Master [120] in Public Health

Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology

Minor in Sociology and Anthropology

Master [60] in Sociology and Anthropology