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Social Networks, Measurement of

  • By: Katherine Abbott
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The three primary methods used to measure social networks are the egocentric (personal network), sociocentric (whole network), and affiliation or two-mode approaches. The method a researcher uses depends on the research questions being asked, as each of these approaches allow for different views of a network. Regardless of the approach, social networks can be analyzed using network analysis tools, based in graph theory, called social network analysis (SNA). SNA allows researchers to calculate a variety of measures about the structure (size, composition) and characteristics (density, centrality) of social networks. SNA has emerged as a powerful and complementary approach to the traditional case-variable analysis approach, which assumes independence of observations. When individuals are linked, such as employees in a hospital, they do not act independently of ...

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