Lily Mehrbod, Commisioning Editor 

Lily Mehrbod, Commisioning Editor 

Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the data science world, but it is also proving integral to the burgeoning field of computational social science.

The SAGE Campus Introduction to Python course is designed to take social scientists step-by-step through the essentials. It aims to equip you with the necessary understanding to be able to approach a social science research question using Python, and devise a solution using programming skills.

One of Python’s main advantages is that it is really easy to learn and thus perfect for beginners. It is also general purpose and can be put to a variety of uses. This means that learning Python is like purchasing a multi-purpose power tool - it’s relatively low effort to learn, but can be put to a huge array of jobs!

More specifically, social scientists love it because it allows you to build your own methodically robust, and transparent, tools to get your data jobs done. Using Python means you don’t have to rely on ‘black box’ algorithms when working with digital data. Web-scraping, organising text files, and data analysis can all be automated without sacrificing your methodological integrity.

Introduction to Python for Social Scientists features the following modules:

Module 1

  • Why use Python?
  • Installing Python
  • Working in the shell and using an editor
  • Equality and comparison
  • Assigning variables

Module 2

  • Data Types
  • Lists
  • String formatting
  • Tuples
  • Dictionaries

Module 3

  • IF, Else and Elif
  • Loops
  • And/or
  • Dealing with files

Module 4

  • Working with the web  
  • Writing functions           
  • Writing scripts in python          
  • Objects and Classes       
  • A brief guide to thinking like a programmer

The next cohort of Introduction to Python for Social Scientists starts September 17th. Sign up here