Joanne G. Carman

Fall

Applications of Social Network Analysis in Evaluation: Challenges, Suggestions, and Opportunities for the Future

Authors:
Pages:
175-187

As the use of social network analysis in evaluation continues to increase, it is important to understand how, when, and under what conditions social network analysis can add value to evaluation work. In this article, we describe how we have used social network analysis in various evaluation projects. Using the experience of one specific project, we highlight, in greater detail, some challenges we encountered in doing this work, relating to the need for stakeholders to understand the added value of social network analysis, the intricacies of data coding and cleaning, and how changes in the size and scope of the project can have great implications. Finally, we offer some practical suggestions for evaluators considering incorporating social network analysis into their work today, and identify opportunities where evaluators might use social network analysis in the future.