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.

Network Data and Statistical Models


In this chapter you will learn about the different techniques that make use of simulations when statistically modeling network data. You will understand that these techniques vary according to the types of questions that are asked and whether the focus is on ties between actors in complete networks, individual attributes, or relations within and between groups. These models are important, as they enable you to employ social network analysis in ways that move beyond description toward explanation, an important goal of social science. Without getting into the technical aspects of each modeling strategy, you will begin to appreciate the ways in which statistical models can be used with network data to address questions that more completely reflect the complexity of ...

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