Network Boundaries

Boundary specification is a crucial task that social network researchers must decide before data collection begins. Some networks have clear membership requirements (e.g., the 23 pupils in Miss Miller’s second grade class, the 46 soldiers of Second Lieutenant Jones’ platoon). But most informal social networks lack clear-cut criteria for identifying all participants. For example, organized crime networks have fuzzy boundaries, as criminal entrepreneurs interact across diverse contexts with criminals and noncriminals. For an investigation of interagency wildfire response networks in the Northwest of the United States, network size and composition would differ greatly if researchers bounded the network using either legal jurisdictions in geographic areas at-risk for large wildfires or event-based responses of organizations to a specific set of wildfires.

Network methodologists have proffered several ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles