***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Malcolm - I would go with your sociological groups explanation which I think is much more than just an Ok answer. For example, I recently mapped out the cross publications among a group of researchers at a research institute. Simply looking at that graph gave me a very quick and easy way of determining which groups of the department worked togeter and who the bridge people were. Both of which have very real implications day to day. I don't know how easy or accurate this information would have been to obtain thru other methods. -----Original Message----- From: Social Networks Discussion Forum on behalf of Edwards, Malcolm Sent: Thu 11/17/2005 11:14 AM To: [log in to unmask] Cc: Subject: Question about feasibility of SNA and the usefulness ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** Dear List, While I am not interested in apologetics for SNA, I have a friend who raised with me an interesting observation. I would welcome responses from people who truly are expert in this area about it, because I don't have the sufficient background to respond in an informed manner. I had forwarded to my friend the e-mail about citations. My friend works in an academic setting more or less, and I thought he'd be interested. Here was his observation. "I view this new-found joy of mapping relationships as having two sources. First, computing power is cheaper so it is easier to set up a search of text for key words, such as names, and it is easier to generate a diagram representing the results. "Second, the internet has so dramatically reduced the cost of disseminating text that society is inundated with information, but is struggling to learn to distinguish knowledge from information. Thus, these diagrams are cheaper then ever to produce and may offer an avenue of making sense of the vast amounts of information available to us. However, what remains to be proven to me, is which of these exercises is really useful. That they are feasible is not enough. That they discuss an important topic is not enough. That they use a complicated formula to judge their lines and connectors is not enough. What knowledge does each one add?" Please note that my friend is not being dismissive or bellicose. He is one of those people who never trust a number thrust at him, and he'll scrutinize any formula and test any assumption. Can anyone suggest examples to me of what he is looking for? I was going to suggest strides made in criminal analysis that can't be made in other methods. I was also going to suggest sociological understandings of groups, and epidemiology. But I would like to really have a great answer, not just an okay answer. -Malcolm "Secure Server" made the following annotations on 11/17/2005 12:14:43 PM ------------------------------"This e-mail, including attachments, may include confidential and/or proprietary information, and may be used only by the person or entity to which it is addressed. If the reader of this e-mail is not the intended recipient or his or her authorized agent, the reader is hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by replying to this message and delete this e-mail immediately." ============================== _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message. _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.