Name Generator

A name generator is an instrument that is used to collect the names of alters in social network analysis. The collected names are the crucial basis for two subsequent data collection steps in social network analysis: name interpretation and name interrelation. Name generators use a fixed-choice or a free-choice approach. Different name generator formats also exist. This entry examines the purpose of name generators, prerequisites, design options, formats, alternative generators, and subsequent steps.


Through means of a name generator, the researcher asks the respondent (ego) to provide a list of the names of other actors (alters) who are relevant to the investigated network by, for example, having a particular relationship with the ego (e.g., friendship). Depending on the research aim and definition of the network, alters ...

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