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Network Data Collection
Social Networks & Health, 2019
Craig M. Rawlings
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Duke University
Duke Network Analysis Center
04 Network Data Collection
Outline
Brief Recap: Why Structure Matters (examples)
How to Detect Structure (examples)
Examples (examples)
Network Questions (examples)
More Examples
Data Collection Instruments for the job
Sampling and Network Boundaries (examples)
Coping with Data Limitations
Brief Recap:
Structure Matters
“For the last thirty years, empirical social research has
been dominated by the sample survey. But as usually
practiced, …, the survey is a sociological meat grinder,
tearing the individual from his social context and
guaranteeing that nobody in the study interacts with
anyone else in it.”
Allen Barton, 1968 (Quoted in Freeman 2004)
04 Network Data Collection
Introduction
Countryside High School, by grade
Introduction
Countryside High School, by race
Structure Matters
• The structure is real!
– A more accurate rendering of social reality
• Our job is to try to detect structure and
represent it through abstractions
– Visual representations
– Mathematical summaries
• Thus, validity is the key research goal
Structure Matters
• SNA Core Research Goals
– (1) Accurately represent social structures
(descriptive)
• Implications for outcomes (i.e. health)
– (2) Explain how social structures come about, and
what their consequences are (explanatory)
• Ties forming and unforming
• Actual measured outcomes (flows, productivity, good
things/bad things)
Detecting Structure
• Network data is everywhere because social
structure is everywhere!
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
Meg … Do you know Steven Johanson? Alot of people think he’s a geek, I
guess. But he likes me and he’s so nice. We talk on the phone alot and I
went over to his house last night. Nothin’ happened but he is really nice
and his family is nice, and he has a huge house and a pool. (Asshole! J/K)
His sister is pretty, she doesn’t look 12 ½. She looks like she should be in
9th grade. A lot of people told me not to worry about what other people
think. I asked him to TWIRP [“The Woman Is Required to Pay”-Dance]
(kind of). I still have to figure out what’s happening. I don’t know what
we’d do or where we’d go or who with. You’re probably thinking I’m
crazy to go out with Steven, I hope you don’t think he’s a big nerd cuz I
know he’s not super popular or anything, but not alot of people really
know him, and once you get to know him, he’s super nice. Anyway,
better go. W/B very soon.
Laura I know Steven pretty well, he’s a great guy. I think it would be awesome
if you 2 went to TWIRP. He is just shy, not a big nerd, Sarah [his sister] is
really pretty, we play tennis together.
04 Network Data Collection
Data Collection
• Is already a theory of social structure
• Takes substantive understanding of a process
• Involves inherent tradeoffs due to limited
time/resources
– More data is better
– Longitudinal is better
– Depth/breadth (really depends on your work!!!)
• No data is perfect, but some is garbage
– We are also inferring structure, but if data is
biased then we are worse off than having no data
Data Collection is Already Theory
04 Network Data Collection
SNA is the Study of Social Structures
How to detect structure
• Data Sources
• Most common
– small group questionnaires,
– large-scale surveys,
• Less common
– face-to-face observations,
– sensor data
• Trendy
– “scraping” many thousands of websites,
– using API’s and digital archives.
–Archival Data – increasingly common!
• Easy and cheap data: easy to scrape, growing in prevalence, longitudinal…
• BUT Lots of issues swept under rug…
– Tie construct validity - What is a tie? Is it really the same type of tie?
» Example: coauthoring = are collaborations of N=2, 3, 500 same sort of tie
» Example: citations can be used for many reasons (e.g., homage to pioneers,
disputing prior work, identifying methods, giving veneer of legitimacy, etc
– Identity disambiguation issues - What is a node?
» Who is whom when many have identical names? How do we trace names
changes…
– Websites contextualize activity (like a survey or task) and transactional traces
reflect variable participation. (double ugh)
» Can you compare persons who spend 1 min on site to those who many hours?
~Sampling each 1 vs 10000 times.
How to detect structure
Observation data
• Audiovisual
– Location in room (field of vision and hearing)
– Hard to assess who addresses whom
– Noise
– Strength - reanalysis
• Sensor/Wifi
– Technical challenges
– Proximity and exposure is accurate
• Hand recording via short hand (McFarland 1999; Diehl and
McFarland 2012, Gibson 2001)
– Accuracy and bias issues of reporter
– Location in room (field of vision and hearing)
– Codes specific to theory
How to detect structure
How to detect structure
• Which one you use depends on the research
focus and the available data sources.
– Before engaging in the difficult task of data
collection, one should gauge how well the data
are likely to fit one’s research questions.
How to detect structure
• There is no single right way to collect
network data! It is always a matter of data
availability, strategic tradeoffs, and
suitability to your specific theoretical and
substantive interests.
• In other words, it’s social research.
Detecting Structure:
Example
Roethlisberger and Dickson 1939
Detecting Structure
• Clearly, a single room in a plant is not a
complete network, as these individuals
likely had many friendships outside that
room, even at the same plant. However,
because the outcome of interest for the
research team concerned work productivity,
the flows of interpersonal influences that
were most likely to bear on this outcome
were those in the immediate work
environment.
Jobs and Locations
Composition
Positive Interactions / Activities
Positive Interactions / Activities
Positive Relations
04 Network Data Collection
Negative Interactions
Primary Groups and Rank
Why variation in production?
Group based!
Quick Note on Ethics (More to Come)
• Human subjects research has risks!
– Consider potential harm collection and information
may cause.
• What are some examples?
• If you learn you are isolate? If we ask for negative ties?
– Need implicit consent in many cases
– Need explicit consent in some cases (minors and
sensitive information)
– Need permission for online materials unless in
creative commons or Freedom of Information Act.
– Issue of public data aggregation and potential harmful
use / powerful inferences
Types of Network Questions
Shape Data Collection
Connectionist:
Positional:
Networks as pipes
Networks as
roles
Networks
As Cause
Networks
As Result
Diffusion
Peer influence
Social Capital
“small worlds”
Social integration
Peer selection
Homophily
Network robustness
Popularity Effects
Role Behavior
Network Constraint
Group stability
Network ecology
“Structuration”
How Do Networks Form?
• Key Processes
– Homophily
– Shared Foci
– Reciprocity
– Transitive Closure
– Preferential Attachment
How Do Networks Form?
• Key Processes
– Homophily
– Shared Foci
– Reciprocity
– Transitive Closure
– Preferential Attachment
Exogenous
Factors
Endogenous
Factors
Define Your Network and Why You
Think Structure Matters
A
B
C
E
F
D
Defining Nodes & Ties
• Kinds of actors (nodes, vertices, points)
– People, groups, organizations, communities, nations
• Often include information on demographics,
behaviors, and attitudes of actors.
• Levels of Analysis
– Individual ego, dyad, triad, clique/group/role, whole
social structure
• Units of time
– Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years,
decades, centuries
04 Network Data Collection
Romantic “Leftovers”
Inductively Uncovering “Rules” of
Interaction
Broad Classes of Ties
• Similarities in which nodes are located in the same
regions in physical and social space (same
neighborhoods, same department, same club).
• Relations in which nodes operate within a system
of roles (e.g., father of; friend of; teacher of, etc.)
and have cognitive or affective orientations toward
one another (likes, dislikes, admires, etc.).
• Interactions in which concrete interactions occur
between nodes (advice, romance, bullying, etc.).
• Flows in which nodes transfer some material or
cultural object, goods, information, or influence
(ideas, beliefs, practices, etc.)
The Nature of Relating
Qualitative study of relationships (Parks and Cotterell)
1. Dimensions of “relating”
Frequency, interdependence, depth / intimacy, breadth / multiplexity,
commitment (continuity), predictability / mutual familiarity,
communication similarity / code match
2. Change in “relating”
a. Dimensions can characterize means to develop, maintain, stabilize and
end relationships.
b. Mechanisms: social distance, social overlap, inter-network contact,
attraction of partner network, and network support.
TIE STRENGTH
Measuring Tie Strength - Marsden & Campbell
What features of “relating” are most associated with friendship and the strength of ties?
1. DEPTH: Closeness / Emotional Intensity
2. Other factors are weak and contaminated by contexts of association.
a. Time spent in relationship (duration and frequency of contact) are also
shaped by shared context (e.g., clubs, associations, classrooms 
propinquity).
b. Closeness often leads to breadth of communication topics & mutual
confiding.
TIE STRENGTH
Tie Formation Example!
Romantic Bonding
• Speed-dating research
– 4 minute “dates”
– Men rotate while women stay in seat
• “Interaction rituals”
– Who clicks with whom?
– How do social bonds form?
• Tradeoff
– Depth over breadth!!
Our
speed
date
setup
Example!
Our
speed
date
setup
What do you do for fun? Dance?
Uh, dance, uh, I like to go, like camping. Uh, snowboarding, but I'm not good, but I like to go anyway.
You like boarding.
Yeah. I like to do anything. Like I, I'm up for anything.
Really?
Yeah.
Are you open-minded about most everything?
Not everything, but a lot of stuff-
What is not everything [laugh]
I don't know. Think of something, and I'll say if I do it or not. [laugh]
Okay. [unintelligible].
Skydiving. I wouldn't do skydiving I don't think.
Yeah I'm afraid of heights.
F: Yeah, yeah, me too.
M: [laugh] Are you afraid of heights?
F: [laugh] Yeah [laugh]
The Speed Date Study
• 991 4-minute dates
– 3 events each with ~20x20=400 dates some data loss
– Participants: 110 graduate student volunteers in 2005
• participated in return for the chance to date
• Speech
– ~70 hours from shoulder sash recorders; high noise
• Transcripts
– ~800K words hand-transcribed w/turn boundary times
• Surveys
– (Pre-test surveys event scorecards post-test surveys)
– Date perceptions and follow-up interest
– General attitudes, preferences, demographics
• Largest natural experiment with audio text + survey info
How we predict it
Actor-Partner Interaction Model
(Kenny, Kashy, & Cook 2006)
04 Network Data Collection
Level of Analysis
Ego-Net
Global-Net
Best Friend
Dyad
Primary
Group
Social Network Data
Basic Data Elements: Levels of analysis
2-step
Partial network
1) Ego-network
- Have data on a respondent (ego) and the people they are connected to
(alters). Example: 1985 GSS module
- May include estimates of connections among alters
2) Partial network
- Ego networks plus some amount of tracing to reach contacts of
contacts
- Something less than full account of connections among all pairs of
actors in the relevant population
- Example: CDC Contact tracing data for STDs
What Sort of Data Can Capture Structure?
3) Complete or “Global” data
- Data on all actors within a particular (relevant) boundary
- Never exactly complete (due to missing data), but boundaries are set
-Example: Coauthorship data among all writers in the social
sciences, friendships among all students in a classroom
We can examine networks across multiple levels:
Foundations
Data
Network Qualities
• Forms of data:
• Relational network 1-mode (sociometric) – who to
whom (e.g., friends)
• Affiliation networks 2-mode (memberships) – who to
what (e.g., club affiliations).
• Cognitive networks – all relationships seen from each
participant
Questions
• Consider your interests and the sort of data
you have or would like to have:
– What sort of network questions interest you?
Connections or roles?
– What sort of data do you think you need to
answer these questions?
• Local or Complete?
• Directed or Undirected?
• Cross-sectional or longitudinal?
• One-mode or two-mode?
Data Collection Instruments
Survey and Questionnaire Design
(Marsden 1990, 2005)
• Name Generator Surveys
– Free choice (as many as you like) vs Fixed choice
(“only top five”)
• Free >> Fixed choice: Issue of artificial cap – limited to 5 friends
• Order reported is interesting
– Roster (full list of classroom or school) vs Recall (up
to respondent)
• Choice has recall issues – memory / cold-call listing not always
complete so you may get false negatives.
• Rosters are preferred method as it relies on recognition instead of
recall – but it may induce false positives.
Local / Ego Network Data
When using a survey, common to acquire “ego-
networks” or local network information. Three parts to
collection:
• 1. Elicit list of names - “Name Generator”
• 2. Get information about each person named
• 3. Ask about relations among persons named
a) Network data collection can be time consuming. It is better (I think) to
have breadth over depth. Having detailed information on <50% of the
sample will make it very difficult to draw conclusions about the general
network structure.
b) Question format:
• If you ask people to recall names (an open list format), fatigue will
result in under-reporting
• If you ask people to check off names from a full list, you can often get
over-reporting
c) It is common to limit people to a small number if nominations (~5). This
will bias network measures, but is sometimes the best choice to avoid
fatigue.
d) People answer the question you ask, so be clear in what you ask.
Social Network Data
Sources - Survey
Example: GSS Name Generator question
“From time to time, most people discuss important matters
with other people. Looking back over the last six months --
who are the people with whom you discussed matters
important to you? Just tell me their first names or initials.”
Why this question?
•Only time for one question
•Normative pressure and influence likely travels through
strong ties
•Similar to ‘best friend’ or other strong tie generators
•Note there are significant substantive problems with this
name generator
Part 1
Electronic Small World name generator:
The second part usually asks a series of questions about each person
Will generate N x (number of attributes) questions to the survey
The third part asks about relations among the alters. Do this by looping over
all possible combinations. If you are asking about a symmetric relation, then
you can limit your questions to the n(n-1)/2 cells of one triangle of the
adjacency matrix:
Complete Network Data:
To acquire complete network data, you need to collect
information on “all” relations within a specified boundary.
• Requires sampling every actor in the population of
interest (all kids in the class, all nations in the alliance
system, etc.)
• Two general formats:
• Recall surveys (“Name all of your best friends”)
• Roster formats: Give people a list of names, have
them check off those with whom they have relations.
04 Network Data Collection
04 Network Data Collection
04 Network Data Collection
04 Network Data Collection
Sampling & Network Boundaries
• Sampling
(Laumann, Marsden and Prensky 1989)
– Position-based approach – ex: employment in an
organization
– Event-based approach – ex: regulars at the beach
– Relational approach based on connectedness – at least two
forms:
• Snowball (Granovetter – start with fixed set and see who
connected to them, connected to them, etc).
• Expanding selection format (Doreian and Woodward
1992) – start with fixed set and see who is connected to
them more than once, and add them – should show
boundary
Defining Network Boundaries
Where does your network begin & end? (Laumann et al 1983)
When does your network exist? (Moody et al 2005)
– Realist Approach
• Participants define it via their collectively shared subjective
awareness of membership
– Nominalist Approach
• Analyst imposes a conceptual framework to serve their analytical
purposes
Realist Approach Nominalist Approach
Static
(Where is a network?)
Classroom, School Teacher and social
worker networks
Temporal
(When is a network?)
Class period, semester,
school year
Minutes, hours,
months, years
Laumann boundary def
Social Network Data
Level of Analysis
What scope of information do you want?
•Boundary Specification: key is what constitutes the “edge” of the
network
Local Global
“Realist”
(Boundary from actors’
Point of view)
Nominalist
(Boundary from researchers’
point of view)
Relations within a
particular setting
(“friends in school” or
“votes on the supreme
court”)
All relations relevant
to social action
(“adolescent peers
network” or “Ruling
Elite” )
Everyone connected to
ego in the relevant
manner (all friends, all
(past?) sex partners)
Relations defined by a
name-generator,
typically limited in
number (“5 closest
friends”)
Snowball Samples – Relational Approach:
• Effective at providing network context around focal nodes. Works much
the same as ego-network modules. Ask at least some of the basic ego-
network questions, even if you only plan to sample (some of) the people
your respondent names.
1. Start with a name generator, then demographic / relational questions
2. Get contact information from the people named
3. Have a sample strategy (which listed people to follow up with)
• Random walk design (Klovdahl)
• Attribute design (make sure to walk within clusters)
• Strong tie design
• All names design (big)
4. Stopping criteria – usually density cutoff (when it diminishes)
• Issue: tends to form network around starting individuals, so their selection
is most important (e.g., elite networks).
Coping with Data Problems
Types of Error
• Reliability
– Do you get stable or consistent reports on ties?
• Accuracy
– Does the measure reflect a real relationship? Is it on target?
• Recall
– Are you getting completeness or capturing all ties in the sample?
• Precision
– Does the measure have exactness?
Survey Accuracy Issues – does measure reflect
concept?
– Inaccuracy from survey item’s design
• Rosters force recognition that may not exist (false positives)
• Recall allows respondent to forget ties (false negatives)
– Inaccuracy from informant
• Respondents tend to see self as central (Kumbassar et al 1994)
• Accuracy of short term recall of observed ties is 50% accurate
(Bernard Killworth and Sailer 1981; Freeman et al 1987). More
accurate on long term associations.
• More accurate reports of reciprocal / transitive / cliqued relations
than asymmetric / intransitive relations (Kumbassar et al 1994;
Freeman 1992).
• Central actors are more competent informants (especially with
cognitive networks and accurate depictions of the ties others
think they hold).
What do you do?
• Be sensitive to these issues
– Inference from terrible data is dangerous and often
WRONG
• Try to solve them best you can
• Report them in your work
– Perfection is a collective goal…the community will
eventually figure it out…
• Good news!!
– EVERY EMPIRICAL STUDY FACES THESE ISSUES
-- IT IS NOT SPECIAL TO SNA!!
Imputation of missing ties
• It is feasible to impute reciprocal ties in cases
of missing responses
– Take set of solid data from respondents. Estimate
logit distinguishing reciprocal from asymmetric
ties using receiver tie qualities and ego - alter
traits. Take coeffs to identify ties for persons who
failed to respond on ties.
• It is harder to imagine how to impute
asymmetric ties in cases of missing responses.
04 Network Data Collection
Posterior tests of robustness and sensitivity
• http://www.soc.duke.edu/~jmoody77/missi
ngdata/calculator.htm
Closing Thoughts
• Social structure permeates our lives!
– That’s what SNA people have been saying
forever
– So “network data” is virtually everywhere
– Challenges arise from every project and require
trouble-shooting
– Be creative in where and how you detect
structure
– Be vigilant in thinking through limitations and
pitfalls

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04 Network Data Collection

  • 1. Network Data Collection Social Networks & Health, 2019 Craig M. Rawlings Assistant Professor of Sociology Duke University Duke Network Analysis Center
  • 3. Outline Brief Recap: Why Structure Matters (examples) How to Detect Structure (examples) Examples (examples) Network Questions (examples) More Examples Data Collection Instruments for the job Sampling and Network Boundaries (examples) Coping with Data Limitations
  • 5. “For the last thirty years, empirical social research has been dominated by the sample survey. But as usually practiced, …, the survey is a sociological meat grinder, tearing the individual from his social context and guaranteeing that nobody in the study interacts with anyone else in it.” Allen Barton, 1968 (Quoted in Freeman 2004)
  • 9. Structure Matters • The structure is real! – A more accurate rendering of social reality • Our job is to try to detect structure and represent it through abstractions – Visual representations – Mathematical summaries • Thus, validity is the key research goal
  • 10. Structure Matters • SNA Core Research Goals – (1) Accurately represent social structures (descriptive) • Implications for outcomes (i.e. health) – (2) Explain how social structures come about, and what their consequences are (explanatory) • Ties forming and unforming • Actual measured outcomes (flows, productivity, good things/bad things)
  • 12. • Network data is everywhere because social structure is everywhere! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Meg … Do you know Steven Johanson? Alot of people think he’s a geek, I guess. But he likes me and he’s so nice. We talk on the phone alot and I went over to his house last night. Nothin’ happened but he is really nice and his family is nice, and he has a huge house and a pool. (Asshole! J/K) His sister is pretty, she doesn’t look 12 ½. She looks like she should be in 9th grade. A lot of people told me not to worry about what other people think. I asked him to TWIRP [“The Woman Is Required to Pay”-Dance] (kind of). I still have to figure out what’s happening. I don’t know what we’d do or where we’d go or who with. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy to go out with Steven, I hope you don’t think he’s a big nerd cuz I know he’s not super popular or anything, but not alot of people really know him, and once you get to know him, he’s super nice. Anyway, better go. W/B very soon. Laura I know Steven pretty well, he’s a great guy. I think it would be awesome if you 2 went to TWIRP. He is just shy, not a big nerd, Sarah [his sister] is really pretty, we play tennis together.
  • 14. Data Collection • Is already a theory of social structure • Takes substantive understanding of a process • Involves inherent tradeoffs due to limited time/resources – More data is better – Longitudinal is better – Depth/breadth (really depends on your work!!!) • No data is perfect, but some is garbage – We are also inferring structure, but if data is biased then we are worse off than having no data
  • 15. Data Collection is Already Theory
  • 17. SNA is the Study of Social Structures
  • 18. How to detect structure • Data Sources • Most common – small group questionnaires, – large-scale surveys, • Less common – face-to-face observations, – sensor data • Trendy – “scraping” many thousands of websites, – using API’s and digital archives.
  • 19. –Archival Data – increasingly common! • Easy and cheap data: easy to scrape, growing in prevalence, longitudinal… • BUT Lots of issues swept under rug… – Tie construct validity - What is a tie? Is it really the same type of tie? » Example: coauthoring = are collaborations of N=2, 3, 500 same sort of tie » Example: citations can be used for many reasons (e.g., homage to pioneers, disputing prior work, identifying methods, giving veneer of legitimacy, etc – Identity disambiguation issues - What is a node? » Who is whom when many have identical names? How do we trace names changes… – Websites contextualize activity (like a survey or task) and transactional traces reflect variable participation. (double ugh) » Can you compare persons who spend 1 min on site to those who many hours? ~Sampling each 1 vs 10000 times. How to detect structure
  • 20. Observation data • Audiovisual – Location in room (field of vision and hearing) – Hard to assess who addresses whom – Noise – Strength - reanalysis • Sensor/Wifi – Technical challenges – Proximity and exposure is accurate • Hand recording via short hand (McFarland 1999; Diehl and McFarland 2012, Gibson 2001) – Accuracy and bias issues of reporter – Location in room (field of vision and hearing) – Codes specific to theory How to detect structure
  • 21. How to detect structure • Which one you use depends on the research focus and the available data sources. – Before engaging in the difficult task of data collection, one should gauge how well the data are likely to fit one’s research questions.
  • 22. How to detect structure • There is no single right way to collect network data! It is always a matter of data availability, strategic tradeoffs, and suitability to your specific theoretical and substantive interests. • In other words, it’s social research.
  • 25. Detecting Structure • Clearly, a single room in a plant is not a complete network, as these individuals likely had many friendships outside that room, even at the same plant. However, because the outcome of interest for the research team concerned work productivity, the flows of interpersonal influences that were most likely to bear on this outcome were those in the immediate work environment.
  • 34. Why variation in production?
  • 36. Quick Note on Ethics (More to Come) • Human subjects research has risks! – Consider potential harm collection and information may cause. • What are some examples? • If you learn you are isolate? If we ask for negative ties? – Need implicit consent in many cases – Need explicit consent in some cases (minors and sensitive information) – Need permission for online materials unless in creative commons or Freedom of Information Act. – Issue of public data aggregation and potential harmful use / powerful inferences
  • 37. Types of Network Questions Shape Data Collection
  • 38. Connectionist: Positional: Networks as pipes Networks as roles Networks As Cause Networks As Result Diffusion Peer influence Social Capital “small worlds” Social integration Peer selection Homophily Network robustness Popularity Effects Role Behavior Network Constraint Group stability Network ecology “Structuration”
  • 39. How Do Networks Form? • Key Processes – Homophily – Shared Foci – Reciprocity – Transitive Closure – Preferential Attachment
  • 40. How Do Networks Form? • Key Processes – Homophily – Shared Foci – Reciprocity – Transitive Closure – Preferential Attachment Exogenous Factors Endogenous Factors
  • 41. Define Your Network and Why You Think Structure Matters A B C E F D
  • 42. Defining Nodes & Ties • Kinds of actors (nodes, vertices, points) – People, groups, organizations, communities, nations • Often include information on demographics, behaviors, and attitudes of actors. • Levels of Analysis – Individual ego, dyad, triad, clique/group/role, whole social structure • Units of time – Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries
  • 45. Broad Classes of Ties • Similarities in which nodes are located in the same regions in physical and social space (same neighborhoods, same department, same club). • Relations in which nodes operate within a system of roles (e.g., father of; friend of; teacher of, etc.) and have cognitive or affective orientations toward one another (likes, dislikes, admires, etc.). • Interactions in which concrete interactions occur between nodes (advice, romance, bullying, etc.). • Flows in which nodes transfer some material or cultural object, goods, information, or influence (ideas, beliefs, practices, etc.)
  • 46. The Nature of Relating Qualitative study of relationships (Parks and Cotterell) 1. Dimensions of “relating” Frequency, interdependence, depth / intimacy, breadth / multiplexity, commitment (continuity), predictability / mutual familiarity, communication similarity / code match 2. Change in “relating” a. Dimensions can characterize means to develop, maintain, stabilize and end relationships. b. Mechanisms: social distance, social overlap, inter-network contact, attraction of partner network, and network support. TIE STRENGTH
  • 47. Measuring Tie Strength - Marsden & Campbell What features of “relating” are most associated with friendship and the strength of ties? 1. DEPTH: Closeness / Emotional Intensity 2. Other factors are weak and contaminated by contexts of association. a. Time spent in relationship (duration and frequency of contact) are also shaped by shared context (e.g., clubs, associations, classrooms  propinquity). b. Closeness often leads to breadth of communication topics & mutual confiding. TIE STRENGTH
  • 48. Tie Formation Example! Romantic Bonding • Speed-dating research – 4 minute “dates” – Men rotate while women stay in seat • “Interaction rituals” – Who clicks with whom? – How do social bonds form? • Tradeoff – Depth over breadth!!
  • 51. What do you do for fun? Dance? Uh, dance, uh, I like to go, like camping. Uh, snowboarding, but I'm not good, but I like to go anyway. You like boarding. Yeah. I like to do anything. Like I, I'm up for anything. Really? Yeah. Are you open-minded about most everything? Not everything, but a lot of stuff- What is not everything [laugh] I don't know. Think of something, and I'll say if I do it or not. [laugh] Okay. [unintelligible]. Skydiving. I wouldn't do skydiving I don't think. Yeah I'm afraid of heights. F: Yeah, yeah, me too. M: [laugh] Are you afraid of heights? F: [laugh] Yeah [laugh]
  • 52. The Speed Date Study • 991 4-minute dates – 3 events each with ~20x20=400 dates some data loss – Participants: 110 graduate student volunteers in 2005 • participated in return for the chance to date • Speech – ~70 hours from shoulder sash recorders; high noise • Transcripts – ~800K words hand-transcribed w/turn boundary times • Surveys – (Pre-test surveys event scorecards post-test surveys) – Date perceptions and follow-up interest – General attitudes, preferences, demographics • Largest natural experiment with audio text + survey info
  • 57. Ego-Net Global-Net Best Friend Dyad Primary Group Social Network Data Basic Data Elements: Levels of analysis 2-step Partial network
  • 58. 1) Ego-network - Have data on a respondent (ego) and the people they are connected to (alters). Example: 1985 GSS module - May include estimates of connections among alters 2) Partial network - Ego networks plus some amount of tracing to reach contacts of contacts - Something less than full account of connections among all pairs of actors in the relevant population - Example: CDC Contact tracing data for STDs What Sort of Data Can Capture Structure?
  • 59. 3) Complete or “Global” data - Data on all actors within a particular (relevant) boundary - Never exactly complete (due to missing data), but boundaries are set -Example: Coauthorship data among all writers in the social sciences, friendships among all students in a classroom We can examine networks across multiple levels: Foundations Data
  • 60. Network Qualities • Forms of data: • Relational network 1-mode (sociometric) – who to whom (e.g., friends) • Affiliation networks 2-mode (memberships) – who to what (e.g., club affiliations). • Cognitive networks – all relationships seen from each participant
  • 61. Questions • Consider your interests and the sort of data you have or would like to have: – What sort of network questions interest you? Connections or roles? – What sort of data do you think you need to answer these questions? • Local or Complete? • Directed or Undirected? • Cross-sectional or longitudinal? • One-mode or two-mode?
  • 63. Survey and Questionnaire Design (Marsden 1990, 2005) • Name Generator Surveys – Free choice (as many as you like) vs Fixed choice (“only top five”) • Free >> Fixed choice: Issue of artificial cap – limited to 5 friends • Order reported is interesting – Roster (full list of classroom or school) vs Recall (up to respondent) • Choice has recall issues – memory / cold-call listing not always complete so you may get false negatives. • Rosters are preferred method as it relies on recognition instead of recall – but it may induce false positives.
  • 64. Local / Ego Network Data When using a survey, common to acquire “ego- networks” or local network information. Three parts to collection: • 1. Elicit list of names - “Name Generator” • 2. Get information about each person named • 3. Ask about relations among persons named
  • 65. a) Network data collection can be time consuming. It is better (I think) to have breadth over depth. Having detailed information on <50% of the sample will make it very difficult to draw conclusions about the general network structure. b) Question format: • If you ask people to recall names (an open list format), fatigue will result in under-reporting • If you ask people to check off names from a full list, you can often get over-reporting c) It is common to limit people to a small number if nominations (~5). This will bias network measures, but is sometimes the best choice to avoid fatigue. d) People answer the question you ask, so be clear in what you ask. Social Network Data Sources - Survey
  • 66. Example: GSS Name Generator question “From time to time, most people discuss important matters with other people. Looking back over the last six months -- who are the people with whom you discussed matters important to you? Just tell me their first names or initials.” Why this question? •Only time for one question •Normative pressure and influence likely travels through strong ties •Similar to ‘best friend’ or other strong tie generators •Note there are significant substantive problems with this name generator
  • 67. Part 1 Electronic Small World name generator:
  • 68. The second part usually asks a series of questions about each person Will generate N x (number of attributes) questions to the survey
  • 69. The third part asks about relations among the alters. Do this by looping over all possible combinations. If you are asking about a symmetric relation, then you can limit your questions to the n(n-1)/2 cells of one triangle of the adjacency matrix:
  • 70. Complete Network Data: To acquire complete network data, you need to collect information on “all” relations within a specified boundary. • Requires sampling every actor in the population of interest (all kids in the class, all nations in the alliance system, etc.) • Two general formats: • Recall surveys (“Name all of your best friends”) • Roster formats: Give people a list of names, have them check off those with whom they have relations.
  • 75. Sampling & Network Boundaries
  • 76. • Sampling (Laumann, Marsden and Prensky 1989) – Position-based approach – ex: employment in an organization – Event-based approach – ex: regulars at the beach – Relational approach based on connectedness – at least two forms: • Snowball (Granovetter – start with fixed set and see who connected to them, connected to them, etc). • Expanding selection format (Doreian and Woodward 1992) – start with fixed set and see who is connected to them more than once, and add them – should show boundary
  • 77. Defining Network Boundaries Where does your network begin & end? (Laumann et al 1983) When does your network exist? (Moody et al 2005) – Realist Approach • Participants define it via their collectively shared subjective awareness of membership – Nominalist Approach • Analyst imposes a conceptual framework to serve their analytical purposes Realist Approach Nominalist Approach Static (Where is a network?) Classroom, School Teacher and social worker networks Temporal (When is a network?) Class period, semester, school year Minutes, hours, months, years
  • 79. Social Network Data Level of Analysis What scope of information do you want? •Boundary Specification: key is what constitutes the “edge” of the network Local Global “Realist” (Boundary from actors’ Point of view) Nominalist (Boundary from researchers’ point of view) Relations within a particular setting (“friends in school” or “votes on the supreme court”) All relations relevant to social action (“adolescent peers network” or “Ruling Elite” ) Everyone connected to ego in the relevant manner (all friends, all (past?) sex partners) Relations defined by a name-generator, typically limited in number (“5 closest friends”)
  • 80. Snowball Samples – Relational Approach: • Effective at providing network context around focal nodes. Works much the same as ego-network modules. Ask at least some of the basic ego- network questions, even if you only plan to sample (some of) the people your respondent names. 1. Start with a name generator, then demographic / relational questions 2. Get contact information from the people named 3. Have a sample strategy (which listed people to follow up with) • Random walk design (Klovdahl) • Attribute design (make sure to walk within clusters) • Strong tie design • All names design (big) 4. Stopping criteria – usually density cutoff (when it diminishes) • Issue: tends to form network around starting individuals, so their selection is most important (e.g., elite networks).
  • 81. Coping with Data Problems
  • 82. Types of Error • Reliability – Do you get stable or consistent reports on ties? • Accuracy – Does the measure reflect a real relationship? Is it on target? • Recall – Are you getting completeness or capturing all ties in the sample? • Precision – Does the measure have exactness?
  • 83. Survey Accuracy Issues – does measure reflect concept? – Inaccuracy from survey item’s design • Rosters force recognition that may not exist (false positives) • Recall allows respondent to forget ties (false negatives) – Inaccuracy from informant • Respondents tend to see self as central (Kumbassar et al 1994) • Accuracy of short term recall of observed ties is 50% accurate (Bernard Killworth and Sailer 1981; Freeman et al 1987). More accurate on long term associations. • More accurate reports of reciprocal / transitive / cliqued relations than asymmetric / intransitive relations (Kumbassar et al 1994; Freeman 1992). • Central actors are more competent informants (especially with cognitive networks and accurate depictions of the ties others think they hold).
  • 84. What do you do? • Be sensitive to these issues – Inference from terrible data is dangerous and often WRONG • Try to solve them best you can • Report them in your work – Perfection is a collective goal…the community will eventually figure it out… • Good news!! – EVERY EMPIRICAL STUDY FACES THESE ISSUES -- IT IS NOT SPECIAL TO SNA!!
  • 85. Imputation of missing ties • It is feasible to impute reciprocal ties in cases of missing responses – Take set of solid data from respondents. Estimate logit distinguishing reciprocal from asymmetric ties using receiver tie qualities and ego - alter traits. Take coeffs to identify ties for persons who failed to respond on ties. • It is harder to imagine how to impute asymmetric ties in cases of missing responses.
  • 87. Posterior tests of robustness and sensitivity • http://www.soc.duke.edu/~jmoody77/missi ngdata/calculator.htm
  • 88. Closing Thoughts • Social structure permeates our lives! – That’s what SNA people have been saying forever – So “network data” is virtually everywhere – Challenges arise from every project and require trouble-shooting – Be creative in where and how you detect structure – Be vigilant in thinking through limitations and pitfalls