Social Network Analysis for Virtual Communities

Social Network Analysis for Virtual Communities

Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-885-7.ch194
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The social network analysis (SNA) method is a set of methods considered these days as a paradigm or a method that offers “the mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, animals, computers or other information/knowledge processing entities. The nodes in the network are the people and groups while the links show relationships or flows between the nodes. SNA provides both a visual and a mathematical analysis of human relationships. Management consultants use this methodology with their business clients and call it organizational network analysis (ONA).” (Krebs, 2005)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Data: A representation of facts, concepts, or instructions in a formalized manner suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing by humans or by automated means.

Paradigm: From the Greek word paradhma (paradigma), the term paradigm was introduced into science and philosophy by Thomas Kuhn in his landmark book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Essentially, a paradigm is simply the predominant worldview in the realm of human thought. For instance, today we would say that we live within an evolutionary paradigm since evolution is the predominant worldview regarding origins. As a paradigm, evolution replaced creation as the explanation for the origin of the universe.

Network: A system or group of interconnected elements.

Virtual Community: A virtual community is a group whose members are connected by means of information technologies, typically the Internet. Similar terms include online community and mediated community.

Measure: Usually, is a function that assigns a number, for example a “size,” “volume,” or “probability,” to subsets of a given set. The concept is important in mathematical analysis and probability theory.

Node: This is any point of connection in a network.

Method: A structured organization of tasks, estimates, and guidelines that provide a systematic approach or discipline.

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