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An Introduction to Visual Network Research:  Visual Tools for the Collection & Analysis of Data on Social Networks

Date - Friday, 3rd February 2017 (9:45 am - 4:30 pm)

University of Leeds, 3 February 2017, 09:45-16:30

Worsley Building, Seminar Room 8.34b

Dedicated methods for the visualisation of quantitative data on social networks have advanced our understanding of social networks in significant ways. In contrast, qualitative methods for (co-)creating network maps or ‘sociograms’, once prominent among the founders of network research,  for a long time received comparatively little attention. Over the past decade, this imbalance has been addressed by scholars developing novel methods for research into personal and organisational networks. Paper-based and digital tools for the co-creation of network maps make for a more engaging collection of network data and enable researchers to overcome some of the limitations of conventional network surveys. This workshop provides a comprehensive introduction into such methods and how they can be used in conjunction with interview-based techniques and surveys. It aims at doctoral and post-doctoral researchers interested in qualitative and mixed-methods research on social networks. Topics that will be covered are:

·     An introduction to visual network research

·     Using visual tools for the collection of qualitative and quantitative data on social networks

·     Co-creating digital tools for data collection: Lessons learnt and best practice

Hands-on exercises will give participants the opportunity to try out at least one of the techniques.

For more information contact organiser: L.J.Kruckenberg@leeds.ac.uk


  • Joshua Melville, Oxford Internet Institute: Joshua developed and designed the initial version of the ‘Network Canvas’ (http://networkcanvas.com/), a novel digital tool that addresses the problem of missing contextual factors in social big data by enabling rich data capture directly from study participants. A Sociologist, Joshua’s expertise lies in digital social research methodology, network data collection, and qualitative network research.
  • Christian Stein, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) & University of Osnabrück: Christian has experience with a broad variety of paper-based and digital methods for visual network research. His research focuses on the role of social networks in natural resource governance. He is applying network research approaches in diverse areas including water resources management, agriculture systems and rural development.
  • Lena Kruckenberg, Leeds University Business School: Lena has used visual methods for the collection and analysis of data in research on inter-organisational partnerships and networks promoting off-grid renewable energy technologies. She now works on processes of technology innovation and social innovation in the field of medical technology.


  1. Introduction: An introduction to visual network research
  2. Talks: Using visual tools for the collection of qualitative and quantitative network data: Paper-based and digital methods and tools
  3. Group exercise: Co-creating digital and paper-based network maps
  4. Discussion of advantages and disadvantages of different tools and methods
  5. Talk: How to develop novel digital tools for data collection
  6. World Café exercise to identify key outcomes, issues to be addressed and ideas for future research/tools

Participation in the workshop is free of charge. The workshop is open to PhD students, post-docs, and research-active faculty interested in qualitative and mixed-methods research on social networks, partnerships, alliances and network governance.

Please register using the following link: