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Linton, A. L., & Sinclair, B. 2015. “Network Research Experiments.” Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource, Pp. 1-14.

This essay attempts to lay the foundation of modern social networks research with a jolt toward innovative ways to create data or finding ways to access newly available data to address meaningful political questions. We focus on outlining potential new resources for data, discuss the emergent theoretical arguments involving political networks, and present some current empirical estimates for the magnitude of the effects of political networks. With the rise of social media and new technology, ordinary citizens socialize online with old friends from elementary school, siblings across the country, and local neighbors. While these relationships have long been part of the social fabric of ordinary life, the ability to observe these exchanges directly and on a daily basis is new, for both researchers and citizens. Records of our social interactions have the potential to transform our academic understanding of the relationship between communication among family, friends, and coworkers and how we become informed about politics and act politically. Whether the relationship occurs on or offline, the social element of the relationship can be incredibly vital in understanding the way individuals react and interact with their political environments. Processing and understanding these interactions, however, can be difficult without knowing where to look for new information, what patterns to look for, and how to interpret data in the context of other findings on the effects of social and political networks. We conclude by considering the new and exciting directions this research may take in the future.

Rex Deng

Written by Rex Deng

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