SNA: A FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYZING INTERACTION IN A SOCIAL NETWORK
The Social Network Analysis (SNA) allows us to represent the interactions and relationships between the actors not only by means of graphic representation, but also by means of some indicators which will provide inputs to explain the workings of the social network (Hirschi, 2010). In general terms, the SNA aims to describe and represent the interactions of the elements of the network, helping the investigator to understand the behavior and attitudes of the actors when participating in the discussion forum, because according to Wellman (2001), the SNA is a very effective method to understand the organization and disposition of members in a social network.
For the structural analysis of the network we used direct observation, since, according to several authors (Bernard, Kilworth and Sailer, 1990; Freeman, Freeman and Michaelson, 1988, 1989; Freeman and Romney, 1987; Killworth and Bernard, 1976, apud Lemieux and Ouimet, 2008), it is the most widely used technique for studying the links between the members of a select group, which, in the specific case of our study, is perfectly adequate, because it only had the participation of 26 members in the Forum under analysis. For the analysis of indicators (density, centrality degree, index of centrality, betweenness and closenness) it was used the software Ucinet, and for the graphical representation of the interactions we use the Netdraw (Borgatti, 2002).
In this study we will present the results of sociometrics analysis of interactions occurring in the discussion forum entitled "Technology x Methodology" with reference to the indicators: i) density; ii) centrality degree; iii) centralization index; iv) Betweenness; and v) Closenness, always contributing with some comments that might enrich our study so that we can understand the role played by some of the participating members.
The network included the participation of 26 members and it was possible to realize the development of 118 bounds or interactions in the possible 650. However, despite not having been observed a high density and a high centralization index, we can state as a positive aspect the fact that this role of centralization was not developed exclusively by the e-moderator. This means that gradually members will develop the much desired autonomy in their formation process, a competence so necessary in an increasingly globalised world, which gives added importance to the sharing of information and experiences, as well as to the collaboration and communication skills, as processes that aim to unify a particular group to seek workable solutions aimed at a final product through network connections: knowledge.
Hirschi, C. (2010). Introduction: Applications of Social Network Analysis. 6th Conference on Applications of Social Network Analysis (pp.2-3) Manchester: Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Lemieux, V.; Ouimet, M.(2008). Análise Estrutural das Redes Sociais. Lisboa: Instituto Piaget
Wellman, B.(1977). An Electronic Group is Virtually a Social Network. In: Kiesler, S.Culture of the Internet”, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, (1997) pp. 179-205.
Velázquez, A.; Aguilar, N. (2005), tradução de Aires, M.; Laranjeiro, J. & Silva, S. (2006). Manual Introdutório à Análise de Redes Sociais. Medidas de centralidade. Available at: http://www.aprende.com.pt/fotos/editor2/Manual%20ARS%20%5BTrad%5D.pdf. Consulted the: 10.07.12