Exploring Community Collaborations: Social Network Analysis as a Reflective Tool for Public Health
- 957 Downloads
Social network analysis is a potentially useful reflective tool that could be used by public health practitioners to assess the overall composition of their networks, strengthen collaborations with other community partners, and evaluate network function. The purpose of this paper is to report on public health practitioners’ experiences with social network analysis. Thirteen public health practitioners, each associated with their own advocacy-oriented community collaboration, participated in the study. Specifically, the intervention consisted of social network analysis output (social network analysis measures and sociograms) and a facilitated discussion to stimulate reflection on the respondents’ professional networks. Semi-structured interviews were conducted two weeks later to solicit participants’ reactions to the sociograms and the accompanying measures, and elicit thoughts about how social network analysis might have an impact on their work. Participants commented on ways in which social network analysis could be applied in practice, such as using sociograms to raise awareness of the nature of current networks, as a planning and evaluation tool, to identify gaps, and to assess the degree of sustainability of current networks.
KeywordsPublic health Community collaboration Community collaboration Social network analysis
This work was supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care through a Systems-Linked Research Grant to the Community Health Research Unit at the University of Ottawa. It was also supported by a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research [X3806A0A to A.K.].
- Butts CT (2008) Social network analysis: a methodological introduction. Asian J Soc Pyschol 11:31–41Google Scholar
- Chung KSK, Hossain L, Davis J (2005) Exploring sociocentric and egocentric approaches for social network analysis. Conference Paper. In: International conference on knowledge management Asia Pacific, November 27–29, Victoria University, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
- Hansen D, Shneiderman B, Smith MA (2011) Social network analysis: measuring, mapping, and modeling collections of connections. In: Hansen D, Shneiderman B, Smith MA (eds) Analyzing social media networks with NodeXL: insights from a connected world. Elsevier Inc, Burlington, pp 31–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hanson D, Hanson J, Vardon P, McFarlane K, Speare R, Dûrrhelm (2008) Documenting the development of social capital in a community Safety Promotion Network: it’s not what you know but who you know. Health Promot J Aust 19(2):144–151Google Scholar
- Holley J (2007) Networks are a field of potential for action. Network Weaving. http://www.networkweaving.com/june/html. Accessed 5 Mar 2011
- Krauss M, Mueller N, Luke D (2004) Interorganizational relationships within state tobacco control networks: a social network analysis. Prev Chronic Dis 1(4):1–25Google Scholar
- Mayring P (2000) Qualitative content analysis. Qual Soc Res 1(2):Art. 20Google Scholar
- McCarty C (2002) Structure in personal networks. J Soc Struct 3(1):1–24Google Scholar
- McCarty C, Govindaramanujam S (2005) A Modified elicitation of personal networks using dynamic visualization. Connections 26(2):9–17Google Scholar
- Norman CD, Huerta T (2006) Knowledge transfer & exchange through social networks: building foundations for a community of practice within tobacco control. Implement Sci 1(20):1–11Google Scholar
- Patton MQ (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods, 3rd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar