The term communication network refers to the pattern of communication among a group of designated individuals. Researchers define a communication network in different ways, such as a web of social relationships or a set of linkages, but the concept is the same. The communication network is typically characterized along three critical dimensions: (1) the network structure, (2) the interactional patterns, and (3) the functional characteristics.

The structure of a communication network examines the size of the network and the pattern of communication among individuals in the network. Networks higher in density are marked by greater numbers of links or relations among individuals. Interactional patterns in a network focus on the specific relations among members. For example, an investigator might be interested in strength or closeness of ...

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