Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 165–180

A social network analysis of student retention using archival data


DOI: 10.1007/s11218-011-9173-z

Cite this article as:
Eckles, J.E. & Stradley, E.G. Soc Psychol Educ (2012) 15: 165. doi:10.1007/s11218-011-9173-z


This study attempts to determine if a relationship exists between first-to-second-year retention and social network variables for a cohort of first-year students at a small liberal arts college. The social network is reconstructed using not survey data as is most common, but rather using archival data from a student information system. Each student is given a retention score and an attrition score based on the behavior of their immediate relationships in the network. Those scores are then entered into a logistic regression that includes tradition background and performance variables that are traditionally significantly related to retention. Students’ friends’ retention and attrition behaviors are found to have a greater impact on retention that any background or performance variable.


Retention Higher education Social network Density Attrition Liberal arts 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Information ServicesRhodes CollegeMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Welch ConsultingWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations