Social Network Analysis

Gemma Edwards’ paper describes the various approaches taken to analyzing social networks while also discussing the merits of approaches that make use of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.  The main take-away from the paper is that when used together, qualitative and quantitative methods are more useful to a social network researcher.  Qualitative methods allow for an “insiders” view of a social network while quantitative approaches allow for a better understanding of network structure and frequency of interactions.

To relate this paper to what we have discussed in class, I saw a couple of possible connections.  Online social networks such as Facebook are organized in a fashion that would allow for interesting quantitative analysis.  The idea of the “broker” (from the fitness class example) was interesting and I wondered how it could/would apply to larger populations.  Also, with geo-tagged tweets, could quantitative methods be used to identify social network structures of people tweeting about the same thing in the same general location.  My main question was how to incorporate the qualitative methodologies.

An interesting note on the use of online social networks to perform social network analysis is that obviously not all people are present on online social networks.  Those without access to internet connections or those who do not wish to make use of online social networks would create voids in any network analysis.


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