Review Essay: Does Qualitative Network Analysis Exist?

Rainer Diaz-Bone

Abstract


Social network analysis was formed and established in the 1970s as a way of analyzing systems of social relations. In this review the theoretical-methodological standpoint of social network analysis ("structural analysis") is introduced and the different forms of social network analysis are presented. Structural analysis argues that social actors and social relations are embedded in social networks, meaning that action and perception of actors as well as the performance of social relations are influenced by the network structure. Since the 1990s structural analysis has integrated concepts such as agency, discourse and symbolic orientation and in this way structural analysis has opened itself. Since then there has been increasing use of qualitative methods in network analysis. They are used to include the perspective of the analyzed actors, to explore networks, and to understand network dynamics. In the reviewed book, edited by Betina HOLLSTEIN and Florian STRAUS, the twenty predominantly empirically orientated contributions demonstrate the possibilities of combining quantitative and qualitative methods in network analyses in different research fields. In this review we examine how the contributions succeed in applying and developing the structural analysis perspective, and the self-positioning of "qualitative network analysis" is evaluated.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0701287

Keywords


social network analysis; mixed methods; triangulation; qualitative network analysis; structural analysis; ego-centered network analysis



Copyright (c) 2007 Rainer Diaz-Bone

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