Computational Social Science

MW 3:30-4:45pm, Hybrid

Course Information

This course is about using a variety of techniques from NLP, ML , and social science to develop a broad understanding of the emerging cross-disciplinary field of Computational Social Science. Example topics include methods of text analyses, and applications to social science fields, such as political science, sociolinguistics, sociology, and economics.

Certain slides, and materials for this course are borrowed from Jacob Eisenstein, David Bamman at UC Berkeley, and Robert Kraut at CMU.


Teaching Assistant

Online Office Hours (Eastern Time):


Note: tentative schedule is subject to change.

Date Topic Readings
Jan 20 Introduction to CSS
Jan 25 Lecture: NLP and Machine Learning Basics
Jan 27 Bias and Fairness: Biases
  • Garg, Nikhil, Londa Schiebinger, Dan Jurafsky, and James Zou. "Word embeddings quantify 100 years of gender and ethnic stereotypes." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115, no. 16 (2018): E3635-E3644.
  • Blodgett, Su Lin, Lisa Green, and Brendan O'Connor. "Demographic dialectal variation in social media: A case study of African-American English." arXiv preprint arXiv:1608.08868 (2016).
Feb 1 Bias and Fairness: Debiasing
  • Zhao, Jieyu, Tianlu Wang, Mark Yatskar, Vicente Ordonez, and Kai-Wei Chang. "Men also like shopping: Reducing gender bias amplification using corpus-level constraints." arXiv preprint arXiv:1707.09457 (2017).
  • Reid Pryzant, Richard Diehl Martinez, Nathan Dass, Sadao Kurohashi, Dan Jurafsky, Diyi Yang. 2020. Automatically Neutralizing Subjective Bias in Text. AAAI 2020
Feb 3 Introduction to Project Ideas
Feb 8 Language Civility: Hate Speech and Toxicity
  • Bastian, Brock, Thomas F. Denson, and Nick Haslam. "The roles of dehumanization and moral outrage in retributive justice." PloS one 8, no. 4 (2013): e61842.
  • Chung, Yi-Ling, Elizaveta Kuzmenko, Serra Sinem Tekiroglu, and Marco Guerini. "CONAN--COunter NArratives through Nichesourcing: a Multilingual Dataset of Responses to Fight Online Hate Speech." arXiv preprint arXiv:1910.03270 (2019).
Feb 10 Guest Lecture from David Muchlinski
  • Social Science Theory: A Primer
Feb 15 Language Civility 2: Politeness
  • Burke, Moira, and Robert Kraut. "Mind your Ps and Qs: the impact of politeness and rudeness in online communities." In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work, pp. 281-284. 2008.
  • Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Cristian, Moritz Sudhof, Dan Jurafsky, Jure Leskovec, and Christopher Potts. "A computational approach to politeness with application to social factors." In Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers), pp. 250-259. 2013.
Feb 17 Social Relationship: Power and Ties
  • Gilbert, Eric, and Karrie Karahalios. "Predicting tie strength with social media." In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems, pp. 211-220. 2009.
  • Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Cristian, Lillian Lee, Bo Pang, and Jon Kleinberg. "Echoes of power: Language effects and power differences in social interaction." In Proceedings of the 21st international conference on World Wide Web, pp. 699-708. 2012.
Feb 22 Statistics and Casual Inference Basics
Feb 24 Language Influence 1: Persuasion
  • Field, Anjalie, Doron Kliger, Shuly Wintner, Jennifer Pan, Dan Jurafsky, and Yulia Tsvetkov. "Framing and agenda-setting in russian news: a computational analysis of intricate political strategies." arXiv preprint arXiv:1808.09386 (2018).
  • Yang, Diyi, and Robert E. Kraut. "Persuading teammates to give: Systematic versus heuristic cues for soliciting loans." Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 1, no. CSCW (2017): 1-21.
Mar 01 Language Influence 2: Argumentation
  • Mayfield, Elijah, and Alan W. Black. "Analyzing Wikipedia Deletion Debates with a Group Decision-Making Forecast Model." Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 3, no. CSCW (2019): 1-26.
  • Tan, Chenhao, Vlad Niculae, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, and Lillian Lee. "Winning arguments: Interaction dynamics and persuasion strategies in good-faith online discussions." In Proceedings of the 25th international conference on world wide web, pp. 613-624. 2016.
Mar 03 Guest Lecture from Clio Andris
  • Andris, Clio, David Lee, Marcus J. Hamilton, Mauro Martino, Christian E. Gunning, and John Armistead Selden. "The rise of partisanship and super-cooperators in the US House of Representatives." PloS one 10, no. 4 (2015): e0123507.
Mar 08 Information Diffusion 1: Social Contagion
  • Friggeri, Adrien, Lada Adamic, Dean Eckles, and Justin Cheng. "Rumor cascades." In Eighth international AAAI conference on weblogs and social media. 2014.
  • Kramer, Adam DI, Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock. "Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 24 (2014): 8788-8790.
Mar 10 Information Diffusion 2: Misinformation
  • Vosoughi, Soroush, Deb Roy, and Sinan Aral. "The spread of true and false news online." Science 359, no. 6380 (2018): 1146-1151.
  • Schuster, Tal, Roei Schuster, Darsh J. Shah, and Regina Barzilay. "The Limitations of Stylometry for Detecting Machine-Generated Fake News." Computational Linguistics (2020): 1-12.
Mar 15 Mid-way Project Discussion
Mar 17 Social Roles and Teamwork 1
  • Yang, Diyi, Robert E. Kraut, Tenbroeck Smith, Elijah Mayfield, and Dan Jurafsky. "Seekers, providers, welcomers, and storytellers: Modeling social roles in online health communities." In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-14. 2019.
  • Zheng, Lei, Christopher M. Albano, Neev M. Vora, Feng Mai, and Jeffrey V. Nickerson. "The roles bots play in Wikipedia." Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 3, no. CSCW (2019): 1-20.
Mar 22 Social Roles and Teamwork 2
  • Zhou, Sharon, Melissa Valentine, and Michael S. Bernstein. "In search of the dream team: temporally constrained multi-armed bandits for identifying effective team structures." In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-13. 2018.
  • Morrison-Smith, Sarah, and Jaime Ruiz. "Challenges and barriers in virtual teams: a literature review." SN Applied Sciences 2 (2020): 1-33.
Mar 24 No Class
Mar 29 Guest Lecture from Jamie C. Gorman
Mar 31 Human AI Interaction
  • Huang, Ting-Hao, Joseph Chee Chang, and Jeffrey P. Bigham. "Evorus: A crowd-powered conversational assistant built to automate itself over time." In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-13. 2018.
  • Ashktorab, Zahra, Q. Vera Liao, Casey Dugan, James Johnson, Qian Pan, Wei Zhang, Sadhana Kumaravel, and Murray Campbell. "Human-ai collaboration in a cooperative game setting: Measuring social perception and outcomes." Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 4, no. CSCW (2020): 1-20.
Apr 05 Social Movement 1
  • Dorottya Demszky, Nikhil Garg, Rob Voigt, James Zou, Jesse Shapiro, Matthew Gentzkow, and Dan Jurafsky. 2019. Analyzing Polarization in Social Media: Method and Application to Tweets on 21 Mass Shootings. NAACL 2019.
  • De Choudhury, Munmun, Shagun Jhaver, Benjamin Sugar, and Ingmar Weber. "Social media participation in an activist movement for racial equality." In Proceedings of the... International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, vol. 2016, p. 92. NIH Public Access, 2016.
Apr 07 Social Science Theories
Apr 12 Social Movement 2
  • Gallagher, Ryan J., Elizabeth Stowell, Andrea G. Parker, and Brooke F. Welles. 2019. “Reclaiming Stigmatized Narratives: The Networked Disclosure Landscape of #metoo.” SocArXiv. May 24. doi:10.1145/3359198.
  • Ahmer Arif, Leo G. Stewart, and Kate Starbird. (2018). Acting the Part: Examining Information Operations within #BlackLivesMatter Discourse. PACMHCI. 2, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2018). Article 20.
Apr 14 Multimodal CSS
  • Simmons, Matthew P., Lada A. Adamic, and Eytan Adar. "Memes online: extracted, subtracted, injected, and recollected." icwsm 11 (2011): 17-21.
  • Blandfort, Philipp, Desmond U. Patton, William R. Frey, Svebor Karaman, Surabhi Bhargava, Fei-Tzin Lee, Siddharth Varia et al. "Multimodal social media analysis for gang violence prevention." In Proceedings of the International AAAI conference on web and social media, vol. 13, pp. 114-124. 2019.
Apr 19 Final Project Presentation 1
Apr 21 Final Project Presentation 2


  • 50% Project
    • Project Proposal (10%)
    • Midterm Report (15%)
    • Final Report (20%)
    • Project Presentation (5%)
  • 10% Quiz
  • 20% Reading Responses
  • 20% Presentation


Class Policies:

Attendance will not be taken, but you are responsible for knowing what happens in every class. The instructor will try to post slides and notes online, and to share announcements, but there are no guarantees. So if you cannot attend class, make sure you check up with someone who was there.


The course is designed for graduate students who are interested in natural language processing and computational social science. Prerequisites: a course in artificial intelligence or any relevant field (e.g., NLP, ML); proficiency with using ML/NLP tools.

Furthermore, this course assumes:

  • Good coding ability, corresponding to at least a third or fourth-year undergraduate CS major.
  • Background in basic probability, linear algebra, and calculus.
  • Familiarity with machine learning is helpful but not assumed. Of particular relevance are linear classifiers: naive Bayes, and logistic regression.


  • The class is full. Can I still get in?

    Sorry. The course admins in CoC control this process. Please talk to them.

  • I am graduating this Fall and I need this class to complete my degree requirements. What should I do?

    Talk to the advisor or graduate coordinator for your academic program. They are keeping track of your degree requirements and will work with you if you need a specific course.

  • I have a question. What is the best way to reach the course staff?

    Registered students – your first point of contact is Piazza (so that other students may benefit from your questions and our answers). If you have a personal matter, please email us.