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.

Historical, Theoretical, and Analytical Foundations

Objectives

This chapter provides a concise summary of the interdisciplinary origins of social network analysis, with a special nod to sociology. In addition to introducing you to an array of applications across the social and natural sciences, this chapter will articulate how social network analysis is a both a theory and a method whose potential is great for advancing knowledge of numerous educational phenomena. Finally, despite the recent popularity of social network analysis, this chapter will demonstrate that many of its core tenets were established decades ago by those working within and, more importantly, across a number of disciplines.

Interest in Social Network Analysis

Public and scholarly interest in social network analysis has grown rapidly in the past 20 years, yet this interest ...

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