• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Sociology, Economics, Communications
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Robert Ackland
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Winter Session 2022
    See Future Offerings

The internet, and in particular the web and social media, has transformed the way we socialise, participate in politics, work, collaborate, and engage in commerce. This course focuses on the contribution of social science at large – emphasising classical sociology and social network analysis – to understanding life in the Digital Age. While attention is paid to relevant insights and approaches from other disciplines, for example applied physics and computer science, the primary focus is on theoretical and empirical contributions from social science. This course equips students with the theory and methods for understanding the social, political and economic impact of the internet. Students will also learn how network analysis and big data are being used to answer long-standing questions in social science.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. critically assess the social, political and economic impact of the Internet;
  2. understand how big data are being used to answer long-standing social science research questions;
  3. conduct basic social network analysis;
  4. research available data, tools and methods for studying online social behaviour; and
  5. compare social scientific approaches to studying the Internet with those from other disciplines.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Online quizzes (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Social network analysis problem set and research note (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Final examination (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 35 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 11 hours of tutorials; and

b) 95 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed or be studying concurrently: -6 units of a 6000 or 8000-level Computer (COMP) or Statistics (STAT) course, OR -SOCR8001 Statistics for Social Scientists Students not satisfying the above may request permission to enrol from the convener. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed SOCY2166.

Prescribed Texts

Ackland, R. (2013), Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age, SAGE Publications.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are advised to have undertaken some social science courses previously.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4636 01 Jul 2022 22 Jul 2022 22 Jul 2022 30 Sep 2022 In-Person and Online View

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