A network evaluation may consider a range of questions and adopt a variety of options for undertaking the evaluation depending on factors such as the type, size, stage of development and purpose of the network.
Networks may be closed (bound) or open (unbounded), web-based or located within a specified geographic area. Purposes can include information sharing, mutual support, and advocacy for social, economic, environmental or political change.
Using SNA to monitor the evaluation of a research network
(Taken from 52 weeks of BetterEvaluation: Week 8: Using Social Network Analysis for M&E, by Cris Sette)
In this example, the ILAC Initiative used the SNA approach to develop a system for monitoring the evolution of a particular research network, commissioned by a large research program.
The project team developed a survey asking members of a newly formed research network to identify partners with whom they had worked with in the past year or so. The survey also asked if the collaboration (formal or informal) was a consequence of the newly formed research network. The information collected was processed with Excel and the UCINET software.
With the analysis of the data and maps, the project team was able to develop a baseline for supporting the M&E strategy of the research program who commissioned the study.
The characteristic of the network, including the characteristics of its members, their affiliations, disciplines, geographic distribution, areas of work and types of research conducted, to name a few, are likely to evolve with time as a consequence of the adjustments in the research collaboration and outcomes. The research program that commissioned the SNA study will monitor the evolution of the network by applying the same questionnaire and methods, on a periodical basis.
Understanding the Role of the World Bank Group in a Crowded Institutional Landscape
In this example, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG - part of the World Bank Group) have used a network analysis to gain a better understanding of the role of the World Bank Group's policy interventions in the health sector in Liberia in the context of many other organisations and interventions. The blog presents two network diagrams: The first SNA diagram presents the role of the WBG as a financier of the health system of Liberia, in relation to other types of organisations. The colours and size of the bubbles denote the type of organisation and the size of annual budget for health in the country. The second diagram looks at the perceived knowledge leadership of different organisations in the health sector.
Feature image information:
The graph represents a network of 1,188 Twitter users whose tweets in the requested range contained "#eval", or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets. The network was obtained from the NodeXL Graph Server on Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 12:20 UTC. The requested start date was Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 00:01 UTC and the maximum number of tweets (going backward in time) was 5,000.
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