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I am looking for general advice and references regarding the benefits and drawbacks of name generators and position generators in the collection of network data. More specifically, I am looking to collect workers' network data at various points over the course of their careers; I am interested in the "quality" and "quantity" of their networks over time and the networks' relation to their career outcomes.
I will ask questions directly about how the respondents got each job along their career path, but I also want to ask about people with whom respondents discussed career aspirations, frustrations, etc. Am I better off using a name-generating question or a position-generating question? Or both? Does one or the other work better when asking for retrospective network data?
I have to allow for the possibility that some of the people with whom respondents discuss their careers may be in other businesses than the one in which the respondents work. But for the ones in the business, it would help to be able to assess each network member's relative power in the field.
I have not come across any literature specifically addressing the pros and cons of name and position generators; if someone knows of any, I'd be please to learn of it. And if there are any "rules of thumb," I'd like to know those, too.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Sociology
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