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455Re: Link Analysis versus Social Network Analysis

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  • philrjones
    Nov 11, 2007
      As Valdis mentions, link analysis is a term used by law enforcement
      and Intelligence agencies. At its most basic, people use tools such
      as i2 Analyst's notebook to visualise relationships between people,
      things and events - using visualisation as a means for conveying
      their 'mental map' of the network under consideration.

      More advanced link analysis involves systematic node and link
      extraction from source material and potentially look at a range of
      inter-personal relationship types. At this point the boundary between
      link analysis and SNA seems to get blurred.

      My working hypothesis for what makes SNA distinctive from link
      analysis is:

      * SNA makes use of social theory and the social context of the
      network under consideration to underpin the range of link definitions
      and subsequent analysis (though my impression is that SNA is often
      focused on production of graph theoretic metrics - which one could
      say is simply Network Analysis, not SNA).

      * There is some fusion of evidence (e.g. multiple reports of a
      relationship between person A and B)to provide an assessment of the
      link, prior to undertaking SNA.

      * It makes use of science (social and mathematical) principles to:
      improve the objectivity of analysis / visualisation; and potentially
      to undertake link and node inference where missing data is an issue.

      Do others agree ... what have I missed.


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