Consultant Matt Healey provides a recap on the first delivery of the 1-day Introduction to Social Network Analysis. If you want to be notified of future offerings sign up to our mailing list.
Yesterday, on the 21st of February 2018, Dan Healy and I delivered a 1-day workshop on Social Network Analysis (SNA). Despite it's name, SNA has little to do with Facebook or Twitter (though it can), rather SNA is about the collecton, visualisation and analysis of network data
This data could be family networks, staff in an organisation, partnerships or arrangements between members in a coalition or the relationships between families in a town. Try this map of the interactions between Game of Thrones characters.
The session began with a deep dive into some of the key concepts and theoretical underpinnings of SNA (but not too much to put everyone to sleep). The purpose was purely to build the understanding of what SNA is, what you can (and can't) use it for and why it might be useful.
The SNA process and output can a) provide the evidence base for an intervention, and b) help focus efforts on groups, communities or individuals more in need of an intervention.
Once the background was out of the way it was time to dive into a hands on activity. Participants formed small groups and were presented with an example which they had to map onto a corkboard using a range of craft supplies. With good humour everyone dived in, and it was fascinating to see how (with only the background provided) participants approached visualising their network example.
Following the 'corkboard' exercise, participants dived into using our preferred SNA platform, Kumu. Using the same data that formed the corkboard exercise, everyone was then able to visualise their network on computers, but with the understanding and forethought of WHY they were visualising things in a certain way.
For the first run through of the workshop, we (and participants) felt the session was a great opportunity to learn more about how SNA might work in their own contexts. We were thrilled with the level of enthusiasm and engagement among participants, and look forward to offering this workshop again in the future.