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.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead


This book has introduced the theories, methods, and applications that constitute the interdisciplinary field of social network analysis and its potential uses in educational research. The purpose of this chapter is to succinctly summarize these ideas, reiterate its limitations, and ultimately prod you to start thinking about and doing social network analysis in educational research. After reviewing the main themes across this book's chapters, this final chapter provides you with a concise series of steps that provide a blueprint to conduct your own social network analysis study. The chapter also provides a summary of the different software tools that are available to assist with these studies. These different applications are presented as either general packages that perform an array of routine ...

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