Social Network Analysis

What is it?

Are people atomic entities or a component of the social relationship? In other words, do individual attributions or social roles/relationships matter? Our ordinary sense may say both are important to explain human behavior, cognition, and emotion. Until now, this methodology section focused on how to analyze the difference/effect associated with individual/group attributions. Social network analysis (SNA) changes the analytical lens toward ‘relational’ attributions to capture social(educational) phenomena.

Social Network is a set of actors (or points, nodes, or agents) that may have relationships (edges or ties) with one another. By revealing this network, a researcher can capture the structure of social relations.

Does a person at the center of a peer-learning network show a higher achievement?

Does a group that forms a decentralized network achieve more than a centralized group?

Basic Logic

  • The dualism between individual and relationship is restrictive in explaining social phenomena. SNA follows a holistic approach to understanding phenomena.
  • Social relations are dyadic attributes. They are attributes of pairs of individuals.

What Should I know?

  • New analytical language in SNA. Please read the introductory explanation (http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~hanneman/nettext/) step by step for basic understanding but ignore Netdraw software. There is a lot of software available.
  • You can combine the SNA approach with traditional statistics or qualitative analysis.
  • Statistical testing for SNA is evolving.

Where can I learn it?

  • CINF 496/596 Social Network Analysis: This course is dedicated to SNA
  • ETAP 826 Advanced Methods for Studying Learning in Technology-Enriched Contexts: This course combines SNA and other methods in the context of educational studies.

Written by YangHyun Kim(Ykim39@albany.edu)

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