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> Hi all,
> Some time ago I posted this query. Here are the responses I received.
> Thanks to all for your help. Claire
> Dear all,
> >I am currently designing my research instrument- a questionnaire to be
> >distributed on-line- for my research. The questionnaire is essentially
> >complete and is also quiet long! However, as I want to ensure that I
> >forget anything before I send it out, could someone please advise me as
> >the following:
> >I am focusing on social capital and career outcomes (intrinsic e.g. job
> >satisfaction and extrinsic e.g. salary). My sample is Human Resource
> >Development professionals in Ireland. I wish to measure their social
> >(weak tie and structural hole) by asking the respondent questions such
> >* Name (initials) 3 people who have acted to help your career
> >* For each of these 3 contacts I ask for:
> >* gender
> >* age
> >* education
> >* relationship to respondent
> >* closeness to respondent
> >* frequency of contact
> >* time known to respondent
> > 1) Will these questions provide me with enough information to
> >measure weak/strong ties and structural holes?
> > 2) Given that I am going to put this questionnaire on-line and
> >package I am using puts the responses to the questionnaires into a
> >which database do you recommend I use to store the responses to the
> >capital measures until I analyse them? e.g. excel
> > If there is further information I can give you to make this
> >clearer then please don't hesitate to ask. There seem to be very few
> >in my University here knowledgeable in this area so I am relying strongly
> >this group.
> > Any and all advic or guidance on this query greatly appreciated.
> > Regards
> > Claire
> * Granovetter's original discussion distinguished between ties in
> the two people know a lot of people in common (strong, e.g., fellow
> employees), and those where they don't (weak, e.g., the postman). This
> is different from how well you know someone. Because of the words
> themselves (strong and weak) I think these concepts have been confused.
> Both are important, of course, but it doesn't seem to me that the
> questionnaire you describe will capture the former, but is geared to
> defining the latter.
> * The short answer is not really
> You are collecting ego centred data. For each ego you ask for three
> alters. Why three, there can be no reason for this. I would let them
> free list as many as they want but you may want to limit them by a
> time period or amount of influence. Eg in the last 5 years or have
> had a strong influence.Far more importantly for this to be a network study
> you must ask
> about the connections between the alters (what you call
> respondents) do they know each other. For software you should look at
> egonet, it is listed on the INSNA website.
> * If you are going to study structural holes, you'll need to get some
> information on the contacts between the three people that ego nominates.
> Else, my only advice is to keep the survey as short as possible!
> * regarding your question on strong/weak ties I would guess that the
> information you demand is sufficient. In my thesis I proposed a social
> capital measure based on the idea of role equivalence using triadic role
> positions (see the references in the attached article on Hummell and
> 1987 or Burt, 1990, "Detecting Role Equivalence"). I applied the
> to the data on the Newcomb student fraternity (part of UCINET III.) by
> making use only of the first three nominations of each student. Symmetric
> ties are then corresponding to strong ties whereas asymmetric relations
> account for weak ties. I attach a paper which contains an upshot of my
> work (forthcoming in the
> next issue of Connections).
> * Why not ask them what each person did for you:
> write letter of recommendation
> pass on job information
> provide mentorship
> work together etc.
> * The best work on measuring social capital I have found is:
> Van Der Gaag, Snijders T. A. B. 2003a, May. ICS: University of Gronigen,
> Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Unpublished Report.
> Van Der Gaag, Snijders T. A. B. 2003b, November. A comparison of measures
> for individual social capital. ICS: University of Gronigen, Vrije
> Universiteit Amsterdam, Unpublished Report.
> * I used the same measures of closeness as yours in my investigation
> information behaviour of Mongolians. In addition I used residential
> proximity, but I don't think that would apply in your case. I also
> followed Nan Lin's methodology for determining social capital. If you
> haven't heard of it try these references:
> Lin, N. & Dumin, M. (1986). Access to occupations through social ties.
> Social Networks 8, 365-385.
> Lin, N., Cook, K. & Burt, R. S. (Eds.) (2001). Social capital: Theory
> and Research. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. (See especially his chapter
> on the position generator, pp. 57-81).
> Lin, N. (2001). Social Capital: A theory of social structure and
> action. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
> He might also suggest you get the occupation of the career helper in
> order to determine status.
> * some questions and considerations about the research design:
> 1. Does your sample include the all (members of) Human Resource
> professionals in Ireland or just a subset working in a particular
> If there is a membership roster, you can format it so members can rate
> relationships with each other.
> 2. Is there any substantive reason for focusing on 3 alters?. Depending
> on the
> number of nodes, 3 alters may not provide enough variability to capture
> ties/structural holes. If there is no justification for limiting the
> you could use your knowledge of the organization to chose a maximum number
> alters. Of course, you may want to consider the relative advantages and
> disadvantages of using closed or open alter lists - for details see
> Wasserman &
> Faust, Chapter 2)
> 3. To reduce response burden, you would want to balance the above two
> considerations (sample, and number of alters to rate) with the length of
> questionnaire. Usually, response burden is higher if there are a lot of
> to rate on many relations.
> 4. Re databases for storage, Excel could do, but a lot depends on the
> database used in storing the online responses, and how various fields are
> defined. What would you be using - mysql, dbase, oracle or access, etc,
> and then
> you may need to write a few sql-statements to re-arrange the data in a
> suitable for export to Excel, Spss or UciNet.
> Claire Gubbins
> Department of Personnel & Employment Relations
> Kemmy Business School
> University of Limerick
> Phone: 00353-61-202666
> E-mail: [log in to unmask]
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