AØKK08216U  Social Data Science

Volume 2015/2016

Recommended elective from 3. year at BSc in Economics

Elective at MSc in Economics


The objective of this course is to learn how to gather and work with modern quantitative social science data. Increasingly, social data--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. Consequently, being an effective economist means spending large fractions of our time writing and debugging code. We write code to clean, transform, scrape and merge data that we want to analyze. This course will focus on the challenges that arise during this process, and thereby enhance our chances of posing new and challenging questions.

We will present data science methods needed for collecting and analyzing real-world data. In addition to core computational concepts, the course will focus on generating new data (collecting, scraping, working with APIs), data manipulation tools (transforming, cleaning), visualization tools (visualizing raw data and model results), reproducability tools (git, github), as well as provide a brief introduction to statistical techniques for prediction and classification, known as statistical learning

Learning Outcome


  • What is data – quantitative and qualitative?

  • Modes of data collection (survey, off-the-shelf, administrative data, big data, experiments, mixed methods, more fancy stuff) – pros and cons

  • Legal and Ethical issues in data collection: property rights, privacy, the law, informed consent

  • Introduction to Programming

  • Introduction to R

  • Reproducible Research

  • Data Manipulation

  • Static Visualizations

  • Data Gathering

  • Statistical Learning

The course will be based on lecture notes, research papers, and survey articles as well as selected textbook chapters.

A detailed syllabus with required readings will be provided in the beginning of the course.

There are no hard requirements, but students are expected to have an interest in some subset of: statistics, econometrics, linear algebra, and a scripting language (we will use R in this course)
The course will consist of two hours of lectures and one hour of exercises and problem solving per week. The lectures will focus on broad introductions to the topics covered in this course. One hour of exercises a week is not a large amount of time for learning how to code. We will use some of this time like development meetings: going over assignments, having detailed code reviews of various forms, and discussing blocking issues and potential solutions.


The course consists of 2 hours of classes (lectures) every week and 2x2 hours every second week for 14 weeks.

For enrolled students please find more information of courses, schedule, rules etc at

Timetable and classroom:
For time and classroom please press the link under "Se skema" (See schedule) at the right side of this page (15E means 2015 Efterår (Autumn))
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination under invigilation
Written assignment, app 4 weeks
The exam is an oral individual examination without preparation and a group-based standard academic paper/project (8-12 pages) that must be handed in before the oral exam.

For the exam students are expected to pose an interesting social science question and attempt to answer it using standard academic practices including original data collection and statistical analysis.
Exam registration requirements

Students are expected to complete at least 2 out of 3 mandatory assignments.

Only certain aids allowed

Will be informed during the semester


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
100% censorship
Exam period

The projectdescription has to be handed in not later than 15 November at midnight 23.59.

The project has to be handed in not later than 11 December 2015 at 10.00 (AM).  15. december 10 AM

Dates for the oral exam will be informed during the course.

For enrolled students more information about examination, exam/re-sit, rules etc. is available at the student intranet for Examination (English),student intranet for Examination (KA-Danish) and student intranet for Examination (BA-Danish).


Same as the ordinary exam. But if only a few students have registered for the re-exam, the exam might change to an oral exam. This means that the examination date also will change.


Criteria for exam assesment

The student must in a satisfactory way demonstrate that he/she has mastered the learning outcome of the course.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 163,7
  • Exam
  • 0,3
  • Total
  • 206,0