Operationalizing Network Analysis for Higher Education Research

  • Robin Shields


Over the past decade, research on higher education has increasingly utilized networks as a conceptual approach for understanding contemporary policy and practice. This perspective shifts the focus of analysis from atomic units of study (whether individuals, institutions or governments) to the links that connect them, adding a new layer of complexity and emphasizing patterns of connectivity over the intrinsic characteristics and qualities of these atomic units. While networks have been employed in the literature as a conceptual approach, the empirical application of network analysis has been much more limited: studies employing social network analysis methods to investigate higher education empirically are relatively scarce. This chapter provides a foundation for future empirical research on higher education networks by operationalizing the empirical application of network analysis (or social network analysis) for higher education research, with a particular focus on quantitative methods. It reviews potential sources of network data and identifies how the network perspective can offer unique insights that are unavailable through more traditional methods.


High Education International Student Social Network Analysis Eigenvector Centrality High Education Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Robin Shields 2015

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  • Robin Shields

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