Advertisement

Collecting Social Network Data

  • Tobias H. Stark
Chapter

Abstract

Individual-level social network data are critical to understanding the dynamics that shape many important social outcomes. Survey research is one of the most common methods for collecting these data from individuals. However, there are a number of challenges that this particular task, mapping social networks, poses to survey-based data collection methods and new tools and research are needed to maximize the accuracy of these data. This chapter reviews some of the biggest challenges facing survey-based collection of social network data and highlights some promising new tools that have been developed to address some of these challenges. It also outlines promising directions for future research on how to best collect social network data.

References and Further Reading

  1. Almquist, Z. W. (2012). Random Errors in Egocentric Networks. Social Networks, 34(4), 493–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bearman, P., & Parigi, P. (2004). Cloning Headless Frogs and Other Important Matters: Conversation Topics and Network Structure. Social Forces, 83(2), 535–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell, D. C., Belli-McQueen, B., & Haider, A. (2007). Partner Naming and Forgetting: Recall of Network Members. Social Networks, 29(2), 279–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blaermire, B. (2017). Linking Survey Data with the Catalist Commercial Database. In D. L. Vannette & J. A. Krosnick (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Survey Research. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  5. Borgatti, S. P., Mehra, A., Brass, D. J., & Labianca, G. (2009). Network Analysis in the Social Sciences. Science, 323(5916), 892–895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brashears, M. E. (2011). Small Networks and High Isolation? A Reexamination of American Discussion Networks. Social Networks, 33(4), 331–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brewer, D. D. (2000). Forgetting in the Recall-Based Elicitation of Personal and Social Networks. Social Networks, 22(1), 29–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christakis, N. A., & Fowler, J. H. (2007). The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years. The New England Journal of Medicine, 357, 370–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cobb, C. (2017). Proxy Reporting. In D. L. Vannette & J. A. Krosnick (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Survey Research. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  10. Cornwell, B., Schumm, L. P., Laumann, E. O., Kim, J., & Kim, Y. J. (2014). Assessment of Social Network Change in a National Longitudinal Survey. Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69, S75–S82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cornwell, B., & Hoaglin, E. (2015). Survey Methods for Social Network Research. In T. P. Johnson (Ed.), Health survey methods (pp. 275–314). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Coromina, L., & Coenders, G. (2006). Reliability and Validity of Egocentered Network Data Collected Via Web – A Meta-Analysis of Multilevel Multitrait, Multimethod Studies. Social Networks, 28(3), 209–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eagle, D. E., & Proeschold-Bell, R. J. (2015). Methodological Considerations in the Use of Name Generators and Interpreters. Social Networks, 40, 75–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fagan, J., & Eddens, K. (2015). OpenEddi. Paper presented at the XXXV Sunbelt Conference. Brighton, UK.Google Scholar
  15. Gommans, R., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2015). Nominating Under Constraints. A Systematic Comparison of Unlimited and Limited Peer Nomination Methodologies in Elementary School. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 39(1), 77–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1360–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hogan, B., Melville, J. R., Ii, G. L. P., Janulis, P., Contractor, N., Mustanski, B. S., & Birkett, M. (2016). Evaluating the Paper-to-Screen Translation of Participant-Aided Sociograms with High-Risk Participants. Paper presented at the Human Factors in Computing, San Jose, CA.Google Scholar
  18. Hsieh, Y. P. (2015). Check the Phone Book: Testing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Recall Aids for Personal Network Surveys. Social Networks, 41, 101–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lackaff, D. (2012). New Opportunities in Personal Network Data Collection. In M. Zacarias & J. V. De Oliveira (Eds.), Human-Computer Interaction. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Marin, A. (2004). Are Respondents More Likely to List Alters with Certain Characteristics?: Implications for Name Generator Data. Social Networks, 26(4), 289–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Marin, A., & Hamilton, K. (2007). Simplifying the Personal Network Name Generator: Alternatives to Traditional Multiple and Single Name Generators. Field Methods, 19, 163–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marsden, P. V. (1993). The Reliability of Sociocentric Measures of Network Centrality. Social Networks, 15, 399–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marsden, P. V. (2011). Survey Methods for Network Data. In J. Scott & P. J. Carrington (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis (pp. 370–388). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Matzat, U., & Snijders, C. (2010). Does the Online Collection of Ego-Centered Network Data Reduce Data Quality? An Experimental Comparison. Social Networks, 32(2), 105–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McCarty, C., Killworth, P. D., & Rennell, J. (2007). Impact of Methods for Reducing Respondent Burden on Personal Network Structural Measures. Social Networks, 29, 300–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Paik, A., & Sanchagrin, K. (2013). Social Isolation in America: An Artifact. American Sociological Review, 78(3), 339–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pasek, J. (2017). Linking Knowledge Networks Web Panel Data with External Data. In D. L. Vannette & J. A. Krosnick (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Survey Research. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  28. Ricken, S. T., Schuler, R. P., Grandhi, S. A., & Jones, Q. (2010). TellUsWho: Guided Social Network Data Collection. Proceedings of the 43rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.Google Scholar
  29. Schober, M. F., Pasek, J., Guggenheim, L., Lampe, C., & Conrad, F. G. (2016). Social Media Analyses for Social Measurement. Public Opinion Quarterly, 80(1), 180–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Small, M. L. (2013). Weak Ties and the Core Discussion Network: Why People Regularly Discuss Important Matters with Unimportant Alters. Social Networks, 35(3), 470–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stark, T. H. (2015). Understanding the Selection Bias: Social Network Processes and the Effect of Prejudice on the Avoidance of Outgroup Friends. Social Psychology Quarterly, 78(2), 127–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stark, T. H., & Krosnick, J. A. (2017). GENSI: A New Graphical Tool to Collect Ego-Centered Network Data. Social Networks, 48, 36–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tubaro, P., Casilli, A. A., & Mounier, L. (2014). Eliciting Personal Network Data in Web Surveys Through Participant-Generated Sociograms. Field Methods, 26(2), 107–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vehovar, V., Manfreda, K. L., Koren, G., & Hlebec, V. (2008). Measuring Ego-Centered Social Networks on the Web: Questionnaire Design Issues. Social Networks, 30(3), 213–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wölfer, R., Faber, N. S., & Hewstone, M. (2015). Social Network Analysis in the Science of Groups: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Applications for Studying Intra- and Intergroup Behavior. Group Dynamics-Theory Research and Practice, 19(1), 45–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations