Development of Reporting Guidelines for Social Network Analysis Studies in Implementation and Health Research

Project Dates: 2021-2022

Social network analysis (SNA) is the broad set of theories, techniques, and tools that allow for the study of relationships among individuals, organizations, and their social entities. SNA has been applied in a wide variety of public health contexts including contact tracing for infectious diseases such as COVID-19, social influence on health behaviors such as tobacco and alcohol use, and organizational information sharing among members of healthcare systems.

Although the potential of SNA methods in implementation science is well-demonstrated,
translational impact of this research may be reduced through inconsistent reporting in the literature and to stakeholders. Additionally, the nature of network data necessitates special considerations for sampling, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and equity and ethical considerations compared to non-network studies. A combination of these issues in conjunction with inconsistent reporting can make it challenging to synthesize and meaningfully translate evidence into practice in relevant implementation settings.

Project Goals:

  • Develop reporting guidelines for social network analysis studies in health research.
  • Conduct an expert panel consensus review process to refine and finalize the draft reporting guidelines, and disseminate final social network analysis reporting guidelines.

Implications for Research and Practice:

This study will result in the first SNA reporting guidelines known in the health and broader social sciences and will significantly advance systems sciences methods in implementation science, which is a core objective of the ISC3 methods pilot program. 

Project Contact: Beth Pruscazyk, PhD, MSW

Project Staff: Ed Tsai, PhD, Doug Luke, PhD, Bobbi Carothers, PhD, Mia Vogel