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.

Collecting and Managing Network Data


The previous chapter introduced the two different ways in which network data are represented (graphs and matrices) and the three different types of variables that are included in social network analyses (relational, structural, and attribute). This chapter takes a step back and addresses issues related to the collection and measurement of these network variables and how they can be stored and managed for subsequent analyses. Specifically, this chapter addresses issues related to boundary specification, sampling, measurement, collection, storage, and measurement; methodological issues that are generic across empirical social science disciplines. The key difference is that social network data are derived from relations in context; therefore, the methodological issues inherent to the collection and management of social network data are somewhat ...

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