A First Encounter

  • Katharina A. ZweigEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


The first chapter of the book gives a short overview of what network analysis does and why it is considered to be a vital part of complex system science : the network analytic framework allows to represent the interaction structure of a complex system as a complex network. The network’s structure can then be analyzed by the application of several structural measures. However, there are two different branches in network analysis that either use the resulting values to find so-called universal features of complex systems or to allow a contextual, semantic analysis . The latter focuses on the connection between structure and function of a network with respect to the complex system of interest and some specific research question. There is a caveat, though: while, in principle, structural measures can be applied to all kinds of networks, if one is only searching for universal features, their results are not always interpretable with respect to a predefined research question. The term “network analysis literacy” is introduced to describe the knowledge of when to apply which measure to yield an interpretable result with respect to the complex system of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TU Kaiserslautern, FB Computer ScienceGraph Theory and Analysis of Complex NetworksKaiserslauternGermany

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