Define Ego Centric and Non-Ego Centric Personal Network. What are the Problems of Delineating of Ego Centric Personal Network.
Ego Centric and Non-Ego Centric Personal Network.
Most analyses of egocentric network data summarize the composition of the network as a set of variables that become attributes of the respondent. Along with the age, education and income level of a respondent, the researcher may have the average age of their alters, the average strength of their ties with alters, the percent of their network that are family or co-workers, or the percent of their network from which they can borrow money or get a ride to the doctor. These measures may, in turn, be used as independent variables to predict things like scores on a depression scale. Egocentric networks have been used in studies of many communities, including the mentally ill, children in classrooms, in schools, and in whole school systems, ethnic groups embedded in larger populations; and people adjusting to disasters and wars.
By adjusting the respondent selection criteria, the number of network alters elicited and the information about each alter, the egocentric approach can be applied to a variety of communities.
Problems of Delineating of Ego Centric Personal Network
In the delineation of egocentric personal network certain problems come to the fore. There can be superficial social contacts (e.g. saying hello) which does not turn into links of a network. Further there can be meaningful contacts without the individual being at the center of his network. There can be a chain relationship. Other members may activate or mobilize him and while doing so, they become the center of network. Such chain of links is termed as non-egocentric personal network. As with most egocentric network analyses, the structural characteristics may be summarized to the respondent level and used as independent or dependent variables. For example, a researcher may want to explain variability in levels of social network density or centrality using the respondent’s age or race. Given the difficulty of collecting these data, studies such as these are rare.
“Small world” studies, developed by Stanley Milgram in the 1960s and 1970s, represent an interesting and less conventional use of egocentric network data. In these studies, respondents in various parts of the United States are told the name, occupation, and city of residence of some target person and are asked to mail a packet of papers to the that person if and only if they know the target personally. If respondents do not know the target personally, they are asked to send the packet to someone who they do know and who they believe has a chance of knowing the target.Tracking the path of the packets provides information on how people know each other and on the average number of links between pairs of randomly chosen people in a large society like the United States.
Egocentric networks are also studied in research on estimates of personal network size and in research on the size of hard-to-count populations .