As someone who has approached network analysis more as a "user" than as an "afficionado," let me concur with Luis Rull. This, of course, makes SA like most methods or theories.
The art, for the user of any of these, is to figure out what is useful for our needs and then to apply it.
Some of the ways I have done so appear in my book (Friedman et al, Social networks, drug injectors' lives, and HIV/AIDS) and in an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology November 2000.
At first, I should add, I was quite turned off by the plethora of measures, almost all of which struck me as too sub-setting of the data. (Focusing only on each component as a separate data set; or over-individualizing the data as is done with indegree and outdegree. But I developed my own ways to create variables by using UCINET and then creating variables from the outputs that fit my needs. It is difficult, but turned out to be useful.
>>> Luis Rull <[log in to unmask]> 08/01/01 05:04 AM >>>
Hi everyone. Just a question: Is network analysis too abstract?
Maybe in the effort to cover every kind of relations and give everybody tools for their research, NA have forgot to specify which tools are appropriate (and sometimes exclusive) for specific necessities, uses, relations or data. I have found that many researchers come to me to ask for advice because they just want some tools from their data. Something small and easy because their main interest is not NA. I found very useful all the research about "links" (no matter what are they) because NA is a passion to me, but what about all these people who just what an specific solution to one specific problem?
Luis Rull Muņoz
Unv. Pablo de Olavide
http://www.latinmail.com. Gratuito, latino y en espaņol.