Social network analysis

The focus of social network analysis is on the network of relations. A social network consists of a set of actors (also called nodes or vertices) together with a set of edges (also called arcs) that link pairs of actors. Since edges can share actors (e.g., the A.B edge shares an actor with the B.C edge) this creates a connected web that we think of as a network.

It is important to realize that actors can be individuals (such as persons in an organization, or monkeys in a troop) or collectivities (such as teams, firms, countries or species). The edges are the realization of a particular relation. Hence the actors could be people and the edges friendship, or advice giving. If the actors are firms then the edges could be trades with or collaborates with. The edges may also have values associated with them that represent the strength or frequency of the relation.

In addition, we normally assume that actors have attributes, by which we mean characteristics or features, such as age or size or personality. Network analysis typically consists of examining both actor attributes and the network of relations

Diagram showing connections of Manchester bands

Manchester experts and projects

Key additional information

Staff interested in social network analysis

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