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Social Network Analysis: A Mixed-Methodological Approach
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: MIXED-METHOD NETWORK ANALYSIS in Barnes’ work (1954).  With no desire to slight this rich history of scholastic research, this  literature review will focus mainly on current network scholars who have contributed  significantly to the literature.  This section begins by looking at Wasserman and Faust’s (1999)  lengthy overview of social network analysis from a traditional quantitative perspective.  As one  of the most often cited sources in social network analysis literature, Wasserman and Faust  provide a theoretical foundation for social network analysis within the fields of social and  behavioral sciences.   To begin with, Wasserman and Faust (1999) address the importance of relationships  within a social network, “that is, relations defined by linkages among units are a fundamental  component of network theories” (p. 4).  When conducting a social network analysis, scholars  typically tend to focus on the relationships within the network and their repercussions.  When  examining relationships from a critical standpoint, researchers can examine the exchange of  power through these relationships and how empowerment of others can occur.  Wasserman and  Faust (1999) also address the fact that a unit of analysis in network analysis is not one individual  but a group of individuals (Wellman [2001] will later add the component of computer machines  as well).  In addition to relationships and units of analyses, Wasserman and Faust (1999) note the  following important aspects of social networks as well: Actors and their actions are viewed as interdependent rather than independent, autonomous units; Relational ties (linkages) between actors are channels for transfer or ‘flow’ of resources (either material or nonmaterial); Network models focusing on individuals view the network structural environment as providing opportunities for or constraints on individual action; Network models conceptualize structure (social, economic, political, and so forth) as lasting patterns of relations among actors. (p. 4) To examine these components, social network analyses can focus on specific aspects of  relationships.  For example, research can examine relationships between groups and not just  individuals within networks.  Research can examine the role of race or gender within the network  6

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

in Barnes’ work (1954).  With no desire to slight this rich history of scholastic research, this 

literature review will focus mainly on current network scholars who have contributed 

significantly to the literature.  This section begins by looking at Wasserman and Faust’s (1999) 

lengthy overview of social network analysis from a traditional quantitative perspective.  As one 

of the most often cited sources in social network analysis literature, Wasserman and Faust 

provide a theoretical foundation for social network analysis within the fields of social and 

behavioral sciences.  

To begin with, Wasserman and Faust (1999) address the importance of relationships 

within a social network, “that is, relations defined by linkages among units are a fundamental 

component of network theories” (p. 4).  When conducting a social network analysis, scholars 

typically tend to focus on the relationships within the network and their repercussions.  When 

examining relationships from a critical standpoint, researchers can examine the exchange of 

power through these relationships and how empowerment of others can occur.  Wasserman and 

Faust (1999) also address the fact that a unit of analysis in network analysis is not one individual 

but a group of individuals (Wellman [2001] will later add the component of computer machines 

as well).  In addition to relationships and units of analyses, Wasserman and Faust (1999) note the 

following important aspects of social networks as well:

Actors and their actions are viewed as interdependent rather than independent, 
autonomous units; Relational ties (linkages) between actors are channels for transfer or 
‘flow’ of resources (either material or nonmaterial); Network models focusing on 
individuals view the network structural environment as providing opportunities for or 
constraints on individual action; Network models conceptualize structure (social, 
economic, political, and so forth) as lasting patterns of relations among actors. (p. 4)

To examine these components, social network analyses can focus on specific aspects of 

relationships.  For example, research can examine relationships between groups and not just 

individuals within networks.  Research can examine the role of race or gender within the network 

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