Validity Issues in the Use of Social Network Analysis with Digital Trace data

TitleValidity Issues in the Use of Social Network Analysis with Digital Trace data
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHowison, J, Wiggins, A, Crowston, K
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Secondary TitleJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Start PageArticle 2
Keywordsinformation system, Online Communities, social network analysis, Virtuality

There is an exciting natural match between social network analysis methods and the growth of data sources produced by social interactions via information technologies, from online communities to corporate information systems. Information Systems researchers have not been slow to embrace this combination of method and data. Such systems increasingly provide "digital trace data" that provide new research opportunities. Yet digital trace data are substantively different from the survey and interview data for which network analysis measures and interpretations were originally developed. This paper examines ten validity issues associated with the combination of data digital trace data and social network analysis methods, with examples from the IS literature, to provide recommendations for improving the validity of research using this combination.

Full Text