This book provides an introduction to the theories, methods, and applications that constitute the social network perspective. Unlike more general texts, this title is designed for those current and aspiring educational researchers learning how to study, conceptualize, and analyze social networks. The author's main intent is to encourage you to consider the social network perspective in light of your emerging research interests and evaluate how well this perspective illuminates the social complexities surrounding educational phenomena. Whether your interests lie in examining a peer's influence on students' achievement, the relationship between social support and teacher retention, or how the pattern of relations among parents contributes to schools' norms, the tools introduced in this book will provide you with a slightly different take on these and other phenomena. Unlike other approaches, this perspective accounts for the importance of relationships within formal structures, and the informal patterns of interaction that emerge, sustain, or recede. Relying on diverse examples drawn from the educational research literature, this book makes explicit how the theories and methods associated with social network analysis can be used to better describe and explain the social complexities surrounding varied educational phenomena.

Social Capital


In this chapter, you will learn about the concept of social capital and how it has been defined, measured, and modeled in the context of educational research. Social capital is an important research tradition in the literature on students’ outcomes, but it has also been used to map and frame a number of different education-related studies. You will learn about social capital theory and the two different models (social closure vs. structural holes) that have evolved from this framework. This chapter will then evaluate how these competing models have been employed in the context of two different studies, with an emphasis on the ways in which network data have been used to address important questions for educational researchers interested in the relationship between ...

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