Social Network Analysis: Identifying Relationships That Can Impact Success

Monday, November 25, 2013 - 3:07 pm
Sophia Guevara

I recently began learning about social network analysis (SNA), an innovative tool that helps professionals understand the often hidden relationships between people, groups, and organizations. This can be important for anyone seeking to identify the key stakeholders and relationships that affect the success of grant-supported work. It can also help organizations that are looking to identify “influencers” and better understand their reach.

Why am I excited about SNA? 

I think SNA can help funders innovate their stakeholder identification process by allowing them to use data to identify people, groups, and organizations for important funding conversations. It can also help evaluators identify process implementation-related information that can affect the success of programs under consideration for multisite implementation.

How can your organization use SNA? 

Perhaps the best way is to learn from organizations that have used it for past projects. Take a look at this online article that reviews how SNA was applied to online communications networks.

Are there resources that provide information about SNA?

  • The introductory slideshow on SNA created by Dr. Giorgos Cheliotis provides details about associated concepts and methods.
  • The resources page on the American Evaluation Association’s Social Network Analysis Topic Interest Group site includes relevant books, articles, journals, and blog posts.
  • offers readers a simple introduction to SNA.
  • View this graph gallery to learn about the relationship graphs that can be created by SNA software like NodeXL.

In conclusion, SNA can help funders better understand relationships that are crucial to their work.

Sophia Guevara is the former chair for the Consortium of Foundation Libraries.

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