A scoping review on the current and potential use of social network analysis for evaluation purposes

Popelier L.

EVALUATION, cilt.24, ss.325-352, 2018 (SSCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 24 Konu: 3
  • Basım Tarihi: 2018
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1177/1356389018782219
  • Dergi Adı: EVALUATION
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.325-352


The pervasiveness and importance of relationships and networks has fueled the development of the social network analysis approach, which considers structural relationships to be primary causes of societal outcomes. While the potential of social network analysis has been demonstrated and discussed extensively in social science research, relatively little is known about the current and potential use of social network analysis for evaluation purposes. This scoping review of journal articles reveals that evaluators use social network analysis because of its ability to identify key stakeholders, assess network structures and relationships quantitatively, reveal informal relations and visualize even complex networks. However, challenges arise when interpreting findings, determining causation between network structures and outcomes and disseminating evaluation results in an ethically responsible manner. The review concludes that the evaluation field?especially in the development sector?would benefit greatly from increased use of social network analysis, but that this would first require improved use of alternative sources of network data, qualitative methods and inferential statistics that will enable evaluators to move beyond descriptive network analysis.