SNA: Quantitative, Qualitative, or Both

The idea of Social Network Analysis (SNA) is an interesting one, something that I have seen in different areas of study, yet never really gave much thought in thinking of it as a discipline, or method of analysis. The article talks about how recently, it has been used to quantitatively analyze social networks and the interactions that occur between nodes in a mathematical approach. In the past, networks were studied in a more qualitative way. The objective of the article is to demonstrate how there is not one correct answer when it comes to SNA, but rather a complement of both quantitative and qualitative analyses in whatever degree necessary is most beneficial.
Although slightly confusing, I can understand the benefits to both types of analyses. When studying social interactions amongst a group of subjects, a pure quantitative analysis appears strong and scientifically sound. However, when you try to dig deeper into the relationships that occur within the networks, quantitative analyses only go so far in trying to paint a complete picture. It is within the qualitative analyses that you can tease out the complex details of the interactions within the network. The author does a good job in demonstrating how a mixed method approach is the most beneficial, and that the structures of networks are so complex that a single qualitative or quantitative approach is inadequate for proper analysis.
It makes a lot of sense to view a social network in this sense. For example, when studying the movements and interactions among indigenous groups in Liberia, a mathematical computer model could probably predict and explain the dynamics to a certain degree, however only with a more qualitative understanding of the situation would you be able to characterize the whole situation. The movement of SNA from a pure quantitative or qualitative state to a mixed method state appears to be a very positive thing, that will help to better understand the dynamics of complex social networks.

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