Social Network Analysis

Social network analysis is the study of structure, and how it influences health, and it is based on theoretical constructs of sociology and mathematical foundations of graph theory. Structure refers to the regularities in the patterning of relationships among individuals, groups and/or organizations. When social network analysis is undertaken, the underlying assumption is that network structure, and the properties of that structure have significant implications on the outcome of interest.

Due to its focus on network structure rather than individual characteristics and or behaviors of network members, the data required for appropriate analysis differs from what is typically collected in non-relational epidemiologic study designs. Typically, study designs that focus on individual characteristics/behaviors and how those characteristics influence health, collect and conduct analysis on attribute data. Attribute data is defined as data that reflects the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of individuals or groups. Conversely, social network analysis requires not only attribute data, but is built on the collection and analysis of relational data. Relational data refers to contacts, ties and connections, which relate one agent in a network to another. Relational data cannot be reduced to properties of the individual agents themselves but to a system/collection of agents.

RESOURCE LIST

GENERAL WEBSITES

R

METHODOLOGICAL ARTICLES

Social Network Analysis: A Methodological Introduction

Survey Methods for Network Data

The Art and Science of Dynamic Network Visualization

Dynamics of Dyads in Social Networks: Assortative, Relational, and Proximity Mechanisms

A glossary of terms for navigating the field of social network analysis

Network analysis in public health: history, methods, and applications

SOFTWARE/PROGRAMMING ARTICLES

A (very) Short Introduction to R

A comparative study of social network analysis tools

Software for social network analysis

EXAMPLE APPLICATION ARTICLES

The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years

Is obesity contagious? Social networks vs. environmental factors in the obesity epidemic

Detecting implausible social network effects in acne, height, and headaches: longitudinal analysis

Structural characteristics of social networks and their relationship with social support in the elderly: Who provides support?

Social Network Analysis of Patient Sharing Among Hospitals in Orange County, California

Transmission network analysis in tuberculosis contact investigations