Basics of Social Network Analysis

in this reusable learning object we look at social network analysis and provide an introduction as to why we can use social network analysis in event management research and how we can use it in event management research so why do we use social network analysis for us particularly when you're looking at masses of data that come from social media such as Twitter and Facebook it allows us to segment that data based on user behavior specifically for Twitter it allows us to understand the natural groups formed around inter connections that discuss specific topics or look at particular personal characteristics such as location or interests and social network analysis also allows us to identify who are the important people in these groups that have formed their own topics or personal characteristics and the all these are we use traditional data collection methods to collect information on social networks Sylvie's were quite popular interviews as well and then then the interviews were analyzed to explicitly look for connections or observations so for example looking at the photo adhere at your left a researcher could observe the the interactions around that networking event for about an hour and then identify who's been talking to who and create a social network from them we then took the data we got from surveys interviews observations and we did a computational analysis of a matrix if you even flipped on a level mathematics you'll have an idea of what a matrix is basically rows and columns of data and from that we have an we have some understanding of the social network and the fundamental building block of social network analysis and social networks our relationships so e is connected to be in some way it's tied to be in some way forgive the pun and those ties can take two forms that tie can be directed where a has a direct relationship to B so in a Twitter reply for example if you're replying to X there's a from you and there's a to X or B there's another type of relationship you can have that's undirected so family relationships brother-sister parent-child undirected there is no direct from or two that can be identified and the social media will Facebook friendships are undirected because once your friend that's a mutual relationship it still doesn't it's um it's not reciprocated it's it's a it's a mutual relationship so now let's get into some more details on social network analysis a formal definition is that it is a research technique that analyzes social structures that images from combination of relationships if you look at the image on the left you'll see an overview with some names borrowed from the school of tourism and the connections that may exist among them and what we do in social network analysis is mathematically analyzed the sum total of these relationships so we have two elements that we look at we look at nodes I let's the entity and in this case we're looking at actors or individuals on which relationship acts and the edge which are the connections or the relationships that connect these nodes and it can be directional if we have a directed graph it can be undirected if we have a undirected graph and we start looking at characteristics of these overall social networks so we look for clusters or subgroups and these clusters can form their own topics they can form our own personal characteristics when we're looking at Twitter and in this case we've got a Cui's of subgroup from II B D and E where all of these members are highly interconnected and they share a strong number of connections as compared to let's say for example C D and E that are less highly connected and after we look at these clusters subgroups cliques we can look at individual notes and certain measures that apply to them so centrality we look at the number of connections that an individual may have with a group we tend to look at incoming connection that's more important for us cohesion shows the distress of connections between the group and its see ease by which you can go from one part of the network to the other density looks at the robustness in other words how strong the network is if you've if you can remove a connection within the network and with the network still function if you've removed that connection so for example a B D and E are quite a dense subgroup because if you remove any of those connections you can still get to from one part of the network to the other however CDE aren't as well connected because if you remove that connection from C to D there is no other way for C to be connected to the network and then finally between this is another measure of the importance of a relevant node within the network and it looks at the shortest peer that each node P is on and the rules of the node that may have within the overall network if they've got several we just look at three here II know that is peripheral has a below-average centrality so it's less important in a network so see for example as an example of a peripheral node because it's not connected to many things so it's less important a central connector such as D has an above-average centrality it's connected to many people and it's it's it's it's a core part of the network and E a connector between groups because it has above average between this if you wanted to get from one part of the network to the other if you wanted to get from for example e to each so you go from one cohesive subgroup a B D and E to another F H I and G you'll have to pass through e so e is a broker in that case it's called above average between this so I was just a brief overview to social network analysis it gave us a general introduction as to what are the building blocks of social network analysis some idea as to why we use it and here's some references getting get you started in your journey and understanding social network analysis

7 thoughts on “Basics of Social Network Analysis

  1. That's a great overview of SNA! In case you want to dig deeper – we made an interview with one of the leading SNA-researchers, you can check it out here:

  2. I'm working in a project about mexican consuls in 19th century and the video was very helpful. Thanks for uploading! =)

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