University of California-Riverside Honors Program

learning, creativity, service

UHP Upper Division Group

Research Projects

UCRNet: Mapping the Global Small World From the University of


Professor Robert A. Hanneman (Department of Sociology)



Hiroko Inoue (Institute for Research

On World-Systems—IROWS)









To contact us:




Project Requirements







Mapping the Global Small World from UCR: Network Analysis and Geographical Information Systems.

Professor Robert Hanneman (Sociology) and Hiroko Inoue (IROWS Research       Associate).


UCR has a diverse undergraduate student body made up of 220 international students and many others whose families are recent immigrants to the United States. But is the UCR student body closely connected with people from other countries? This question can be answered by studying the network ties that UC undergraduate students have with people from other countries. The “small world” literature in sociology has shown that the whole population of Earth (6.5 billion people) compose a single interconnected network of personal ties, and so each person is connected to all the others through indirect links. On the average it only takes five indirect links to connect one person with all the others, because connections multiply exponentially with each “degree of separation”. But not all people are equally interconnected. For some it takes more indirect connections to reach to the far side of the world, while for others the number of indirect "degrees of separation" are fewer.

Project Background: 

Participants in this research group will examine the “small world” of connections among students all over Earth by seeing how many links it takes UCR undergrads to connect with friends of friends in all 192 countries that are members of the United Nations using targeting strategies that the students themselves will create. This project will use both email and regular mail and will collect data on the geographical location, gender, occupation, and age of all the interconnecting acquaintances. These data will be analyzed using formal network techniques and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

           The project will study Network Analysis, GIS, and the small world literature. Then the participating students will design the research project and will get Institutional Review Board Human Subjects approval for the research.


The project is looking for from three to 12 upper division undergraduate students (juniors and seniors).  Participation will provide an opportunity to engage in scholarly research for presentation and publication, with the exact nature of their participation to be determined by the needs of the Research group during their tenure and the skills and interests of the individual students.

Student participants will gain experience with UCINET (social network analysis software)  and will learn Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software applications. These are valuable skills that will be useful in future careers.   

If you are interested in participating please contact:

Hiroko Inoue