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I'm just a PhD student, I would advocate for the open number question:
- the number of degree is a key parameter, and the distribution is very uneven;
- you should always compare things that are similar, however
arbitrary, to understand what your bias are.
   The main case I've seen this discussion is for sexual relation
network; however painful, the tedious discussions with the most active
subjects proved decisive to tackle STD.

   Maybe forcing the revelation of a certain number of contact is a
good way to measure non-symetric relations, or triggering memories ---
but I wouldn't use it as a roof, not with relevant hubs around.

More precisely:
- the relevance of degree distribution and hubs to your study,
- directional ties,
- statistics vs. interpretation
all favor an unbouded criterion; in comparision to:
- the key-role of the ends, and a constraint on degree
- non-directional ties
- interpretative analysis
prefer a given number of ties -type of study.

   I'd love to have any reference though, because I'm supposed to work
on a "What are your three main partner" type of survey, and I don't
really nkow how to deal with it.

2006/10/23, Timothy Huerta <[log in to unmask]>:
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> Hi all!
>
> Got a question. While most network surveys I've seen tend to be in the
> "here's a list of all objects within a boundary condition, please indicate
> your relationship with any or all of them", I've also seen the "list the top
> XX number of people who meet this boundary criteria and then, please
> indicate your relationship with any or all of them".
>
> I see a number of pros and cons to each of the forms. The former is more
> complete and less likely to have missing or underreported results. The
> latter has a reduced responder burden and may be useful when the number of
> possible objects in the network is very large. The latter is actually a
> series of ego networks that are overlapped and fused into a network map. The
> former may result in overreporting of results which one might use reciprocal
> ties for, but in doing so losing data on directionality.
>
> So, where does the SNA community stand on this issue? Are there studies that
> look at the issue?
>
> Tim
>
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