AØKK08216U Summerschool 2021: Introduction to Social Data Science

Volume 2021/2022

MSc programme in Economics – elective course

Bacheloruddannelsen i økonomi – valgfag efter 2. år

The Danish BSc programme in Economics - elective course after the 2. year


The objective of this course is to learn how to analyze, gather and work with quantitative social science data. Increasingly, social 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.


In addition to core computational concepts, the class exercises will focus on tools and methods for the following topics:


1. Gathering data: Learning how to scrape data directly through content in web pages on the internet as well as interacting with application programming interfaces (API).

2. Data manipulation tools: Learning how to go from unstructured data to a dataset ready for analysis. This includes to import, preprocess, transform and merge data, including text data.

3. Data analysis: Learning best practice when visualizing and describing data in different steps of a data analysis. Participants will learn how to implement statistical learning algorithms and how to apply these for prediction and interpret these models in practice.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Understand how and what data that can be used to answer  typical questions in the social sciences. 
  • Account for benefits and challenges of working with different kinds of social data.
  • Identify and account for strengths and weaknesses of linear statistical prediction algorithms.
  • Discuss ethical challenges related to the use of different types of data.
  • Discuss how prediction tools relate to existing empirical tools within social sciences such as linear regression for statistical inference.



  • Use data manipulation and data visualization to clean, transform, scrape, merge, visualize and analyze social data.
  • Parse and structure text data and conduct basic analysis.
  • Construct new datasets by scraping web pages and work with data APIs.
  • Estimate, apply and interpret machine learning algorithms and models in practice.
  • Conceptualize and execute projects in social data science.



  • Independently master and implement computational methods and methods for working with social and behavioral data in the social science literature.
  • Present modern data science methods needed for working with computational social science and social data in practice.
  • Ensure legal and ethical procedures for data collection and management are satisfied.

The main textbooks are:

  • Python for Data Analysis, 2nd ed. (2017) by Wes McKinney
  • Python Machine Learning, 2nd ed. (2017) by Sebastian Raschka & Vahid Mirjalili
  • Big by Bit - Social research in the digital age by Matthew J. Salganik


A comprehensive reading list as well as detailed information about the course will be available on the course website soon. For last year’s reading list see:


This course is available to students and practitioners who are interested in social data science.

Update 09-03-2021:
The course builds on a wide range of techniques. To facilitate learning these techniques, we expect that students have acquired basic programming skills with Python before teaching begins. We emphasize that although coding experience in Python is strongly recommended you can follow our integrated learning module, “Assignment 0”, where you will learn to code. Every student is asked to complete this module before the course begins.


In addition to programming experience, we recommend students to have basic knowledge of regression analysis, e.g. from Econometrics I at the Department of Economic, University of Copenhagen or similar. This will be useful when learning about machine learning.
The course will in the two first weeks consist of lectures and exercises with problem solving. The lectures will focus on the broad topics covered in the course. In the exercise classes we will get our hands dirty and present data science methods needed for collecting and analyzing real-world data. The student must be aware that the exercises do not have a large amount of time for learning how to code.

The third week of the summer school will consist of peerfeedback, guidance and project writing.

The teaching (lectures and exercise classes) is conducted physically on campus.
The teaching can also be followed online. Check out Absalon how to access the virtuel teaching.
In the first and second week:
Lectures: 8 AM to 12 noon
Exercise classes: 1 PM to 5 PM.

In the third week:
The students participate in peer feedback and the students can groupevise participate in meetings with the TAs for guidance of the project.

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of classrooms please press the link under "Timetable"/​"Se skema" at the right side of this page.

You can find the similar information in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-B5-5F21; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: "List - Week Days"
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn – Week 31-5”
Press: “ View Timetable”

Please note:
- That it is the student´s own responsibility to constantly be aware of and search for information about the study, teaching, schedule, exam etc. through the study pages, the course description, the digital exam portal, Absalon, KUnet, myUCPH app, curriculum etc.
- That if the Corona crisis continue, the lectures and exercises may be conducted online or part online/part fysically at campus. Please consult Absalon to be informed of the teaching and changes to the original schedule.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • Class Instruction
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 106
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Total
  • 206
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)


The students receive: 

  • Written feedback from assignments (correction and solution).
  • Written feedback from responses to quizzes.
  • Oral feedback and supervision sessions by TAs.
  • Feedback by their peers on the project assignment.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 10 days
The exam is a project paper. The project can be written individually or in groups of 3 to 4 participants.

Please be aware of:
- The rules for co-writing assignments as stated in the curriculum.
- The plagiarism rules must be complied.
- The project paper must be written in English.
- The groups are randomly assigned at the beginning of the course.
Exam registration requirements

Full participation at the 3 weeks of the summerschool is mandatory and the student must actively participate in all activities.


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


All aids allowed

for the written exam.


In case of an oral reexam, please go to the section "Reexam" for further information about allowed aids.



Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

The regular Exam:

The project paper must be uploaded no later than:

24 August 2021 at 10 AM


Exam information:

Note: In special cases, the exam can change to another day.


Further information about the exam will be available in Digital Exam early August.


For enrolled students more information about examination, rules etc. is available at  Master students (UK), Master students (DK) and Bachelor students (DK).



The written reexam takes place:

in the period December 2021 - January 2022


Note:  If only few students register for the written re-exam, the re-exam might change to a 20 minutes oral examination with 20 minutes preparation time.

Written aids are allowed during the preparation time.

No aids are allowed during the examination.


If changed to an oral re-exam, the exam date, time and place might change as well. The Examination's Office then informs the students by KU e-mail.


Reexam information:

Date and time of the reexam: In Digital Exam early February.

Rules, aids etc at Master(UK),Master(DK) and Bachelor(DK).

Criteria for exam assesment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.


To pass the exam, the student must be able to demonstrate a performance meeting the minimum requirements for acceptance of the relevant material and of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.