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This important issue of New Directions for Evaluation highlights social network analysis (SNA) methodology and its application within program evaluation.
The application of SNA is relatively new for mainstream evaluation, and like most other innovations, it has yet to be fully explored in this field. The volume aims to fill the gaps within SNA methodology exploration by first reviewing the foundations and development of network analysis within the social sciences and the field of evaluation. The focus then turns to the methodology. Who holds power in a network, and what measures indicate whether that power is direct or indirect? Which subgroups have formed, and where are they positioned in an organization? How divided is an organization? Who forms the core of a collaboration, and where are the experts in an organization? These are the types of common questions explored in the four case studies of the use of network analysis within an evaluative framework. These cases are diverse in their evaluation situations and in the application of measures, providing a basis to model common applications of network analysis within the field. The final chapters include a personal account of current use by a government agency and suggestions for the future use of SNA for evaluation practice.