Social Network Analysis

Social Network Analysis (SNA) was used in the WoW program to review the interactions between trainees, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and other researchers.  The evaluation  was based on monthly meeting observations, individual and group interviews, social network analysis (SNA) and mentoring logs.

According to the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA),  “Social network analysis is focused on uncovering the patterning of people’s interaction.” 

“Network analysis is based on the intuitive notion that these patterns are important features of the lives of the individuals who display them. Network analysts believe that how an individual lives depends in large part on how that individual is tied into the larger web of social connections. Many believe, moreover, that the success or failure of societies and organizations often depends on the patterning of their internal structure.”

from the INSNA website

Method

Every WoW member was asked to complete an online survey twice a year describing their social networking in relation to other members of the WoW training program. The survey used the LimeSurvey platform.  Data were visualized and social metrics calculated using a social network software – UCINET 6.

Findings

For a more complete detailed list of the fFindings, please refer to the complete 2012 SNA Report.

The social interaction among the WoW trainees was dense and coherent.  Interaction was counted at 65% of the possible ties where each individual could potentially reach others within 2 steps.

The distribution of the WoW trainees demonstrates the influence of power hierarchy; people with similar affiliations (trainees, post-doctoral fellows, researchers) tend to be geographically closer on the map.

The social interaction density (.93) among the trainees reflects a strong camaraderie; during the focus group interview, a majority of the trainees spoke of how participation in the professional  development activities help them to form tighter relations.

The E-I (External – Internal) index of the trainees points to other trainees not within their laboratories.  On average, trainees reported 4.7 people who contribute to their growth and development.