Several algorithms and software packages have been developed for displaying the relationship between actors within a whole (sociocentric) network. These visualization packages use as input an adjacency matrix representing the relationship between actors, and have occasionally been applied to personal (egocentric) network data. Personal network adjacency matrices require respondents to report on all alter-alter ties. This is an enormous respondent burden when the number of alters goes much beyond 30. We report here on an effort to reduce that burden by having respondents build their own personal networks, interactively, on the Internet. In a study on smoking, 100 respondents (50 smokers and 50 non-smokers) listed 45 network alters and provided data on whether each of the 990 pairs of alters talked to each other. We used a program called EgoNet to collect these data. Fifty of the respondents (25 smokers and 25 nonsmokers) then completed a similar exercise over the Internet, using a visual interface, called EgoWeb. There are clear mode effects on personal network composition and structure.
A modified elicitation of personal networks using dynamic visualization
Tuesday, February 1, 2005