Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘social network analysis’

How does social capital affect individual performance in academic collaboration?

A Abbasi, L Hossain, R Wigand (2011) Social Capital and Individual Performance: A Study of Academic Collaboration, Arxiv preprint arXiv11122460

Studies on social networks highlight the importance of network structure or structural properties of a given network and its impact on performance outcome. The empirical validation of the association between network structures and performance has been well documented in a number of recent studies. One of the important properties of this network structure is referred as “social capital” which is the “network of contacts” and the associated values attached to these networks of contacts. There are very few systematic empirical studies suggesting a role of co-authors, as social capital in their scientific collaboration network and their effect on performance. In this study, our aim is to provide empirical evidence of the influence of social capital and performance within the context of academic collaboration. Results suggest that research performance of authors is positively correlated with their social capital measures. This study highlights the importance of scholars’ social capital characteristics on their performance suggesting stronger links to more powerful contacts will lead to better performance and, therefore, their respective professional social network shows indicative outcomes to evaluate and predict the performance of scholars. It further highlights that the Power-diversity Index, which is introduced as a new hybrid centrality measure, serves as an indicator of power and influence of an individual’s ability to control communication and information.

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How is the explosion of online social media a new opportunity to measure social capital?

Matthew S. Smith (2011) A Computational Framework for Social Capital in Online Communities, A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Brigham Young University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The explosion of online social media means that it is now possible to collect rich data about people’s connections and interactions, in a completely ubiquitous, non-intrusive manner. Such dynamic social data opens the door to the more accurate measuring and tracking of social capital. Similarly, online data is replete with additional personal data, such as topics discussed in blogs or hobbies listed in personal profiles, that is difficult to obtain through standard surveys. Such information can be used to discover similarities, or implicit affinities, among individuals, which in turn leads to finer measures of social capital, including the often useful distinction between bonding and bridging social capital.

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Does the Structure of Your Brain Reflect the Size of Your Online Social Network?

Kanai, R., Bahrami, B., Roylance, R., Rees, G. (2011) Online social network size is reflected in human brain structure, Proceedings of the Royal Society

The increasing ubiquity of web-based social networking services is a striking feature of modern human society. The degree to which individuals participate in these networks varies substantially for reasons that are unclear. Here, we show a biological basis for such variability by demonstrating that quantitative variation in the number of friends an individual declares on a web-based social networking service reliably predicted grey matter density in the right superior temporal sulcus, left middle temporal gyrus and entorhinal cortex. Such regions have been previously implicated in social perception and associative memory, respectively. We further show that variability in the size of such online friendship networks was significantly correlated with the size of more intimate real-world social groups. However, the brain regions we identified were specifically associated with online social network size, whereas the grey matter density of the amygdala was correlated both with online and real-world social network sizes. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that the size of an individual’s online social network is closely linked to focal brain structure implicated in social cognition.

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Who Acquires Friends Through Social Media and Why?

Tufekci, Z. (2010). Who Acquires Friends Through Social Media and Why ? “ Rich Get Richer ” versus “ Seek and Ye Shall Find ” Online Friendship : The Subject Never Dies. Media. AAAI Press.

There is an ongoing debate, not just among academics but in popular culture, about whether social media can expand peoples social networks, and whether online friends can be real friends. The debate refuses to die. This paper addresses this question subjectively, from the point of view of the user, and examines predictors of acquiring new friends through social media use. This is a multi-method study with quantitative (n=617) and qualitative sections. Some previous studies have found a rich-get-richer effect where people who are socially active offline benefit most from online interactions. This paper examines whether online social ties become real friends subject to a selffulfilling prophecy: those who do not believe in online friendships are not likely to make such connections. I compare the Rich Get Richer and Seek and Ye Shall Find models by examining relationships between the amount of offline socializing, amount of online social activity and the belief in online friendships. Respondents attitudes as to online sociality are qualitatively examined. The results support one of the earliest theories of computermediated- communication: hyperpersonal interaction. It appears that some people perceive online interaction to concentrate on the conversation itself, rather than on appearances, and find it to be freer of social judgments. On the other hand, for other people, face-to-face interaction has inimitable features that simply cannot be replicated or replaced. African-Americans are significantly more likely to meet new friends online. This study contradicts the idea that people who are more social offline are more social online, as well as the notion that it is only the social misfits who use social media to make new friends as there was no difference in the number of offline friends between those who made new friends online and those who did not.

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