Network analysis elicits and models perceptions of the causes of a phenomenon. Typically, respondents are provided with a set of putative causal factors for a focal event and are asked to consider the relationships between these factors. These relationships are illustrated in a diagrammatic network consisting of nodes (i.e., causal factors) and arcs representing the relationships between nodes. The technique captures the complexities of people's cognitive representations of causal attributions for a given phenomenon. This entry discusses the history, techniques, applications, and limitations of network analysis.


Network analysis was developed to account for individuals' relatively complex and sophisticated explanations of human behavior. It is underpinned by the notion of a perceived causal structure, which Harold Kelly described as being implicit in the cognitive representation of attributions. ...

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