From Respondents to Networks: Bridging Between Individuals, Discussants, and the Network in the Study of Political Discussion

  • Matthew T. Pietryka
  • Jack Lyons Reilly
  • Daniel M. Maliniak
  • Patrick R. Miller
  • Robert Huckfeldt
  • Ronald B. Rapoport
Original Paper

Abstract

Much of our understanding of social influence in individual political behavior stems from representative surveys asking respondents to identify characteristics of a small number of people they talk to most frequently. By focusing only on these few close contacts, we have implicitly assumed that less-intimate associates and features of network structure hold little influence over others’ attitudes and behavior. We test these assumptions with a survey that attempted to interview all students at a small university during a highly-salient municipal election. By focusing on a small, well-defined community, we are able to explore the relationship between individuals, their close associates, and also less-immediate associates. We are also able to explore features of network structure unobtainable in representative samples. We demonstrate that these less-immediate associates and network features have the potential to exert important influence that conventional survey approaches would miss.

Keywords

Political discussion Social networks Egocentric networks Name-generator survey batteries Attitudes Political behavior 

Supplementary material

11109_2017_9419_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1186 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew T. Pietryka
    • 1
  • Jack Lyons Reilly
    • 2
  • Daniel M. Maliniak
    • 3
  • Patrick R. Miller
    • 4
  • Robert Huckfeldt
    • 5
  • Ronald B. Rapoport
    • 3
  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.New College of FloridaSarasotaUSA
  3. 3.College of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA
  4. 4.University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  5. 5.University of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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