Network analysis represents a very systematic means of examining the overall configuration of relationships within social systems. Social units (e.g., individuals, groups), and relationships, represented at points (nodes) and the communication among the units provides the basis for study. Network analysis provides a form of study used across the academy, including communication, and even the natural sciences, to study specific problems. The wide range of academic disciplines that have found social network analysis appealing has also resulted in a literal Tower of Babel with central concepts like relationships described by many different terms (e.g., edges, arcs). This entry will use terminology traditional to the communication discipline.
Contexts are most often manifested in network studies with the operationalizations of entities. ...
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