Can social network analysis (SNA) be a recognised method in Methodspace

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  • #6227
    Malcolm Alexander
    Participant

    Hi all.
    I am a social researcher who uses social network analysis mapping and software as a tool fof social research and evaluation projects. I run a training course on social network research and network analysis and teach an undergraduate course on social networks.

    As this description indicates I treat the questions of research methods and methodology for investigating human/social networks and networking seperately from the techniques of network analysis. The champions of SNA (signalled by the use of the acronym) tend to begin from such network (data) analysis. SNA models are interesting and important. They offer many ‘solutions in search of a problem’, but also lots of valuable analytic methods, suggestions and insights. The recent influx of physicists and biologists working with models of ‘small world’ and ‘scale-free’ networks are plowing the same row (even deeper).

    Social researchers do not start from the specification of models and the jump to (data) analysis that network analysis makes. We are more interested in collecting the variety of data that social research methods provide. Some of this data is amenable to analysis using SNA techniques and software – some is not. Conversely, SNA techniques suggest methods of data collection (for network analysis) that are not commonly used in social research.

    In signing in to methodspace the only options for signalling my interests were: quant, qual, mixed methods and evaluation. There is no place for me to signal my primary interest.

    Is it appropriate to add social network analysis to the list of options or, given the difficulties I have outlined, should the list remain as is and explore other possibilities for its location in the framework of this website?

    Cheers, Malcolm

    #6233
    Connie T. England
    Participant

    I am interested in learning more about social network analysis. Do tagmemics fall under this category? Connie England

    #6232
    Berkay Ozcan
    Participant

    Malcolm, would you like to start a group on it and promote it? I believe there are many people who would be interested in group on SNA.

    #6231
    Malcolm Alexander
    Participant

    Dear Connie, You will have to tell me something about tagmemics. It is a new term for me. Cheers, Malcolm

    #6230
    Malcolm Alexander
    Participant

    Dear Berkay,
    I do intend to start a group sometime. I thought I would get some ideas from this discussion first. Cheers, Malcolm.

    #6229
    Malcolm Alexander
    Participant

    Dear Connie,
    I looked up tagmemics. As I read the descriptions it is a technique derived from linguistics and aims to look at networks of meanings.
    There is an interesting computer program for qualitative textual analysis that uses co-occurences of words to make out higher order concepts (and metaconcepts) in a text. It is called Leximancer (Google it). This applies some of the techniques used in social network analysis but it is not directly associated with SNA in any way.

    Cheers, Malcolm
    M.

    #6228
    Wilma Garvin
    Participant

    I have definitely thought that this was an interesting area since I first read Rob Cross’ work in this area. I encourage people to think about their own social networks when they are considering how effectively they are working within their own organisations as well as understanding power and politics in organisations through other people’s social networks.

     

    All the best

     

    Wilma

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