This paper focuses on network theory and Social Network Analysis (SNA) and is a foundational piece. It clarifies the concept of a social network and helps identify the characteristic elements of social network theorizing. The piece acts as a particularly useful foundation by defining some of the key terms and concepts used in SNA research. The authors attempt to remedy the confusion about network theory by clarifying the fundamental concepts of the field (such as the network) and characterizing how network reasoning works. The article starts by considering the definition of network, noting some confusion caused by two different perspectives, which they refer to as realist and nominalist. The article then analyzes two well-known network theories, to identify characteristic elements of network theorizing.
This paper will be useful for practitioners and researchers interested in better understanding the terms and concepts of social networks, network theory, social media and social network analysis (SNA) research. It will be helpful to those looking to familiarize themselves with the key terms and concepts in the field, and acts as a foundational piece for beginners.
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