Social Network Analysis: History, Theory and Methodology

We live in a world that is paradoxically small and vast: each of us is embedded in local communities and yet we are only a few ‘links’ away from anyone else in the world.

This engaging book represents these interdependencies’ positive and negative consequences, their multiple effects and the ways in which a local occurrence in one part of the world can directly affect the rest. Then it demonstrates precisely how these interactions and relationships form.

This is a book for the social network novice on learning how to study, think about and analyse social networks; the intermediate user, not yet familiar with some of the newer developments in the field; and the teacher looking for a range of exercises, as well as an up-to-date historical account of the field.

It is divided into three sections:

1. Historical & Background Concepts

2. Levels of Analysis

3. Advances, Extensions and Conclusions

The book provides a full overview of the field – historical origins, common theoretical perspectives and frameworks; traditional and current analytical procedures and fundamental mathematical equations needed to get a foothold in the field.

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3 Responses to Social Network Analysis: History, Theory and Methodology

  1. A usefull book but needs to be edited for grammar. The value of this book is that it provides an easily understood introduction to network analysis along with easy to follow instructions for how to carry out various procedures, mostly using UCINET software. It is a great concept and the book really is very useful. The main problem with the book is that it is chock full of grammatical errors. If it was just a few I could ignore them, but there are enough so that it is a real distraction. I would like to use this book with students, but I worry that those with good language skills will be led to discount the information in the book. I also worry that the book will set a poor example for students who do not have such good language skills. I suppose that I could use the book anyway if I vouch for the content and also directly acknowledge that it was not properly edited before publication. I could even give students credit for being able to find and correct the grammar mistakes in each of the assigned readings in addition to understanding the network concepts that are presented. Regardless of whether or not I am able to use it I am surprised and really disappointed that the editors at Sage would let so many easy to fix errors get into what would otherwise be a great little book.

  2. Well-organized and well written book A really well-organized and well written book. I haven’t finished this book yet, but I have already got a lot out of it. I liked the History chapter, and I especially found helpful the chapter where Prell walks you through how to conduct an SNA study of your own. Most SNA books tend to focus on the analysis of social network data. Prell helps you think about how to gather the data from research questions, design, data collection, theory, and so forth. Also, I thought there was just ‘social network theory,’ but Prell spelled out the common social theories being used in the field, and gives you lots of examples. I think a lot of people will appreciate the mathematics being placed in textboxes; the book is light on mathematics (she doesn’t ignore them, but she presents them in a way that is not intimidating). Buy this book!

  3. I believe this is a very useful text book. It makes a difficult subject accessible to a relative novice in the field. I am glad I found a reasonable treatment to assist me in my research and carry out various procedures. It provides an easy read while providing a well thought out introduction to network analysis.

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