SCEA at AEA 2011: Presentations on Network Analysis

The Evaluation field’s growth over the years have led to the development of new tools for practice in some cases and integration of existing tools from various disciplines in other cases. Social network analysis/network mapping is an example of an analytic method traditionally used in Sociology and Anthropology to study interaction within social groups that has found a home within Evaluation.

Below is information about paper presentations that SCEA members and their colleagues will be giving on the uses of social network analysis to better understand the nature of collaboration in areas such as social welfare and systems thinking at this year’s AEA Conference.

For presentation time and location, please see this year’s AEA Conference Program.

Change Over Time in Networks of Care Providers in Monterey County and Interpretations of Systems Change
David Dobrowski
ABSTRACT: In an evaluation of First 5 services to families and children in Monterey County, an inter-organizational network mapping procedure was employed at two time periods to identify changes in levels of coordination and collaboration among service providers who receive funds from First 5 Monterey County. Across a one year period, there was an increase in the number of interactions between funded partner agencies, with the increase in ties occurring at the Networking and Coordination levels, but with slightly fewer ties at the Collaboration level. The results raise questions about how best to engage participating organizations and other stakeholders in increasing levels of collaboration, when is the right time to measure changes in systems, and whether an increase in collaboration is a necessary or sufficient condition to determine improvement in systems change outcomes.
Using Network Analysis to Understand and Improve Collaboration Among Michigan’s Integrated Improvement Initiatives and Center for Educational Networking
Jan Gaylord-Vanslyke
ABSTRACT: As part of a collaborative mixed-method evaluation of Michigan’s Integrated Improvement Initiatives and Center for Educational Networking (MI3-CEN), network analysis was used to characterize current patterns of collaboration in shared function areas among key network partners, and to identify opportunities for strategic development. Evaluation goals and methods were collaboratively identified by MI3-CEN network staff and evaluators. Panel participants will discuss this collaborative process and results of the network analysis from both an evaluator and user perspective.
Social Network Analysis as a Tool for Engaging Communities in the Assessment of Inter-organizational Collaboration
Joelle Greene
ABSTRACT: The success of place-based initiatives is largely contingent upon the ability of communities, leaders and organizations to collaborate. From the assessment of needs, to resource allocations and coordination of services, organizations are required to work towards mutual goals and outcomes. In this community assessment an organizational survey was conducted, in part, to help determine current levels of collaboration among organizations and to help the community partnership envision and set future goals related to the nature and degree of collaboration in their community. In the presentation we will provide examples of Social Network Analysis (SNA) maps used to interact with the community partnership, highlight how the data was used in the planning process, and how SNA will be used longitudinally to map changes in levels of collaboration over time in a place-based comprehensive community initiative.
Social Network Analysis as a Tool for Engaging Communities in the Assessment of Inter-Organizational Collaboration
Sae Lee
ABSTRACT: Inter-organizational network analysis is being used in several evaluations of First 5 county programs in California to measure changes in systems of care towards greater collaboration among agencies receiving First 5 funds. Another use of the methodology is presented in this paper, involving an evaluation of a participatory community assessment process as part of the comprehensive placed-based initiative developed by First 5 Los Angeles. To assess the current state of collaboration among community agencies within each of First 5 LA’s 14 communities, an inter-organizational survey was conducted which included Frey’s Levels of Collaboration Scale. The network analysis findings will be discussed in terms of how community partnerships can use the findings to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their relationships with other agencies in the target communities, and how multiple stakeholders can be engaged in bolstering community-based networks as part of a larger community building process.
From Survey Data to Network Mapping and Beyond: Describing Inter-Organizational Coordination and Collaboration Networks
Sae Lee
ABSTRACT: This session will demonstrate one method for measuring inter-organizational networks using a modified version of the Levels of Collaboration Scale as part of a Funded Provider survey. Based on our experiences evaluating First 5 programs in several California counties, we will demonstrate how survey data from agency respondents are transformed into two-dimensional inter-agency network maps using NetDraw, and then how features of the network (strength of ties, closeness, density) can be distilled from these network maps and analyzed statistically. We will show how to use the maps to describe the nature of collaboration between agencies, how to expand the survey to a broader network of agencies, and how to employ this procedure to measure change over time. Caveats and limitations of this method and how to interpret and communicate the maps to stakeholders and agencies to support program monitoring and improvement will also be discussed.

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