By Ali Fisher
We live in a networked world. Whether known as family, kinship, tribe, village, neighbourhood, community, work place colleagues, or online social network, they are all networks in the sense of being a series of relationships between different individuals.
Social network analysis (SNA) explores the relationship between actors within a network by identifying the points that people “huddle around”. Network maps allow a researcher to visualise and analyse data on complex interactions or relationships between large numbers of actors. In these maps the dots (nodes) are actors within the network and the lines (ties, edges or arcs) identify a relationship between the nodes which the tie connects.
Through the maps, groups (or cliques) can be seen more rapidly than a through a text based list. Groups that have high levels of interaction with each other form clusters of dots in different areas of the network map.