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Dear Soc-netters,


Are you able to recommend recent (1990 or after) published ethnographic research that has a social network orientation?


I recognize that qualitative social network research has a long history [for example:

Rothlesberger and Dickson “Management and the Worker” 1939 was based on an observer who recorded conversations; Whyte Street Corner Society 1943 was fieldwork; also the work by Bott and Sampson is quite famous.]  Are there recent works that stand out in the same way?


Best regards,



-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Johnson, Jeffrey C
Monday, June 23, 2003 10:11 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: evaluating networks qualitatively


I think getting caught up in the quant/qual distinction is not going to resolve any of the problems of interest.  It is really a matter of doing a thorough job initially of a series of qualitative in-depth interviews to identify what is needed and relevant to the problem.  Such qualitative interviews can then lead to valid and relevant systematic network questions that can be reliably compared across all actors (without the inherent problems in open ended qualitative approaches of "just because it wasn't mentioned by an informant in an in-depth interview does not necessarily mean it is not important to them").  We had a problem like this in attempting to study informal social roles in networks (see  J.C. Johnson, J. Boster, and L. Palinkas. "Social Roles and the Evolution of Networks in Isolated and Extreme Environments". The Journal of Mathematical Sociology  Volume 27/Numbers2-3, (2003): pp. 89-122).  The use of in-depth interviews to identify these roles is described in:


 J.C. Johnson and S. Weller. Elicitation Techniques in Interviewing. (2002) In Handbook of  Interview Research (J. Gubrium and J. Holstein, eds.), pp 491-514,  Sage:Newbury Park. 



-----Original Message-----
From: Graeme Larsen [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Monday, June 23, 2003 11:49 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: evaluating networks qualitatively

Catherine and other SOCNET colleagues,


You ask what kind of attributes i am interested in.  Well i am unsure.  Whiltst i accept 'how' communicaiton occurs in an informal network can be mapped and positions quantified by SNA, the only explaination for 'why' they occur this way is based around the SNA quantitative data/paradigm.  Regarding innovations, there are many attributes related to the innovation, cost, advantages, drivers behind it etc etc (Rogers early stuff) and the type of social system it is diffused into, interest rates, political system, level of competition etc etc.  This is before we start to consider elements concerning the actors, education, value systems, individual drivers etc.  If occurs to me that there are all these complementary 'softer' issues that actually contribute to the network which i want to include.


I hope you can make sense of this.


Kind regards

Graeme Larsen

Doctoral Researcher

University of Reading