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Social Network Analysis: A Mixed-Methodological Approach
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: MIXED-METHOD NETWORK ANALYSIS social network analysis enticing for network scholars.  The digital realm by its nature creates a  convenient archive for researchers to easily copy, past and examine versus the more tedious tasks  of recording and transcribing network data as older traditions have done.  This flexibility makes  online analyses faster to conduct and more efficient at data collection with little room for human  error during the collection process. With these two foundational assumptions asserted this paper proposes a mixed- methodological approach to social network analysis.  The next section outlines major theoretical  contributions to the concept of the network based on Wasserman & Faust’s (1999) concept of  network analysis, Castells’ (2009) concept of network society, and Wellman’s (2001) concept of  communities as networks.  In addition, a mixed-methodological method design is proposed to  include social network analysis concepts like network types, strength of ties, and the importance  of links, degrees, and centrality to name a few.  The paper also focuses on data collection  methods that combine new quantitative methods like web crawling with traditional qualitative  methods like ethnography.  This paper concludes with implications for mixed-methodological  social network analysis in future research. Social Network Analysis: Theoretical Foundations According to Hogan (2008), “a network is a set of nodes (such as people, organizations,  web pages, or nation states) and a set of relations (or ties) between these nodes. Each relation  connects two of the nodes” (p. 6).  The study of social networks is not a new field, although with  the growing popularity of research addressing online networks and social networking sites some  may believe it to be.  In actuality, the study of social networks stems from the fields of  sociology, social psychology, and anthropology and is generally interdisciplinary in nature  (Wasserman & Faust, 1999).  The term “social network” is attributed to the field of anthropology  5

Authors: Vincent, Cindy.
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Running Head: MIXED-METHOD NETWORK ANALYSIS

social network analysis enticing for network scholars.  The digital realm by its nature creates a 

convenient archive for researchers to easily copy, past and examine versus the more tedious tasks 

of recording and transcribing network data as older traditions have done.  This flexibility makes 

online analyses faster to conduct and more efficient at data collection with little room for human 

error during the collection process.

With these two foundational assumptions asserted this paper proposes a mixed-

methodological approach to social network analysis.  The next section outlines major theoretical 

contributions to the concept of the network based on Wasserman & Faust’s (1999) concept of 

network analysis, Castells’ (2009) concept of network society, and Wellman’s (2001) concept of 

communities as networks.  In addition, a mixed-methodological method design is proposed to 

include social network analysis concepts like network types, strength of ties, and the importance 

of links, degrees, and centrality to name a few.  The paper also focuses on data collection 

methods that combine new quantitative methods like web crawling with traditional qualitative 

methods like ethnography.  This paper concludes with implications for mixed-methodological 

social network analysis in future research.

Social Network Analysis: Theoretical Foundations

According to Hogan (2008), “a network is a set of nodes (such as people, organizations, 

web pages, or nation states) and a set of relations (or ties) between these nodes. Each relation 

connects two of the nodes” (p. 6).  The study of social networks is not a new field, although with 

the growing popularity of research addressing online networks and social networking sites some 

may believe it to be.  In actuality, the study of social networks stems from the fields of 

sociology, social psychology, and anthropology and is generally interdisciplinary in nature 

(Wasserman & Faust, 1999).  The term “social network” is attributed to the field of anthropology 

5



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