Visual Network Research: Using Net-Map and Vennmaker

Visual Network Research: Using Net-Map and Vennmaker

Instructors: Markus Gamper (University of Cologne, Germany, Jennifer Hauck (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany), Michael Schönhuth (University of Trier, Germany) & Martin Start (University of Hamburg, Germany)

From its very beginning in the 1930s network analysis made use of visualizations. Whereas in classical network research visualizations stood at the end of the analysis, visual network research puts visualizations into the center of the data generation process. They can be used either for a structural analysis or as an instrument of data collection and validation of data. Here, the research participants are involved in the structural development of their network, as (co-) producers and analysts of their own network images, be that in scientific or in consultant contexts.
This hands-on workshop introduces the haptic Net-Map tool and the software VennMaker within an integrated visual network research agenda. The participants will learn how to conduct a visual network research using these different tools.

The Net-Map Tool (http://netmap.wordpress.com) is a low-tech, low-cost, interview-based mapping tool that combines the mapping of multiplex networks with actor analyses and an in-depth qualitative discussion of the network. As a research tool it delivers quantitative network data, an assessment of the influence, goals and roles of the actors (independent of their centrality) and rich qualitative data which digs deeper into the questions ‘How?’ and ‘Why?’. Further, the tool can be used for group facilitation, strategic planning, conflict resolution and change management, as it allows groups to engage in productive discussions about the complexity of a problem, structural reasons for success and failure, bottlenecks and windows of opportunities.

In the second part the workshop shows how to combine qualitative and quantitative network analysis (triangulation) with the software VennMaker (http://www.vennmaker.com). The participants learn how to make (create) questionnaires for ego-centered networks and how to configure so called digital network maps. Digital networks maps allow collecting network data on a visual level. In short exercises, the participants carry out interviews with the program. Then we show how the collected data can be exported in Excel, Pajek and SPSS.

This workshop is a 6 hour workshop, the maximum number of attendees is 20. After a brief introduction of the tools, participants will learn how to use both, the Net-Map tool and the VennMaker, and how to develop an appropriate question, facilitate the interview and ‘read’ and discuss the resulting map. For the VennMaker the participants should bring their own laptop with the latest java version. The software will be provided. For Net-Map materials will be provided.

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