Using social network analysis as a tool in action research

Susan Paterson, Elizabeth E.W. McInerney, Scotney D. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The following paper presents case examples of one research team's use of social network analysis (SNA) with three different collaboratives in South Florida: (a) a Collective Impact initiative seeking to end youth homelessness, (b) a university collaborative of campus organizations working towards Black students' concerns, and (c) a movement network of local social justice organizations. The research team used SNA to assess the level of connectivity of three different community coalitions. While research questions were slightly different for each collaborative, each project asked about the frequency of communication between organizations to determine connectivity. Results vary between case examples. Both the Youth Homeless Collaboration and the Black Student Association used Gephi to analyze results, while The Community Partnership used R to measure network centrality. The paper concludes with a general discussion of challenges related to using SNA as an action research tool, as well as the role of power in organizational networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • action research
  • collective impact
  • nonprofit organizations
  • organizational collaboratives
  • power
  • social justice
  • social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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