Another Course Blog Post…

Reflecting on your chosen methods – Social Network Analysis

*** Yes, I did look at different research methods than I was planning to… ****

  • What three (good) research questions could be answered using this approach?
    • Can specific individuals affect trending social media topics?
    • Does the quantity of social media interactions relate to how quickly a topic trends?
    • Or does the quality of social media interactions relate to how quickly a topic trends?
  • What assumptions about the nature of knowledge (epistemology) seem to be associated with this approach?
    • I believe that within the context of SNA, we must assume away any evaluation of the validity of the knowledge being discussed/commented upon within the interactions.
    • In reality it is the conflict between justified belief and opinion which drives how the network interactions occur.
  • What kinds of ethical issues arise?
    • The biggest issue related to using SNA is privacy.       Social networks are built based upon the relationships between individuals and these relationships are not equal for each actor in the network.
  • What would “validity” imply in a project that used this approach?
    • Validity would imply not accounting for the content of the messaging/postings, simply the interaction between the messengers.
  • What are some of the practical or ethical issues that would need to be considered?
    • As with the results of the major social network privacy scandals, there are concerns of what information is gathered and used for the SNA.
    • Understanding the network interactions requires an end-to-end view of all individual relationships as there is data to be gathered when interactions stop or change.
  • And finally, find and reference at least two published articles that have used this approach (aside from the examples given in this course). Make some notes about how the approach is described and used in each paper, linking to your reflections above.
    • Studies have been done on the interconnection of research
    • It would be interesting to look into controversial research topics and using SNA determine how broad the research base it or whether the sources are somewhat incestuous.
    • This would be useful to see if there is truly a broad base of knowledge or whether the same data/information is constantly being recycled.


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