The term social network refers to a social structure made up of interconnected actors. These actors can be individuals, groups, cities, organizations, or even online communities. Social network research is the study of the relationships and network positions between social actors in identifiable social structures. Since the early 1980s, the application of social network methods has grown exponentially. This increased interest has led to sophistication in both the design and analysis of social network research. This entry focuses on the design aspect—that is, the composition of networks. It describes three critical components of social network research—nodes, ties, and boundaries—and outlines recommendations for improving the validity of inferences drawn from this research.

Components of Social Networks

Social network research generally focuses on understanding one or a combination of ...

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