DataFormats»Integrated Software

Integrated Software

Eight functional capabilities that I’ve (Matthew Pittinsky) had to cobble together from different apps:

  1. Collect - Capabilities for collecting social network data such as generating paper-based and Web-based survey instruments (hosted as a Web service), as well as perhaps downloading existing social network data from popular consumer sites and enterprise collaboration systems such as email.
  2. Input – Capabilities for entering social network data either through importation, fresh entry via a basic spreadsheet, or a graphical point and click wizard (e.g. Walsh’s Classroom Sociometrics).
  3. Manage – Capabilities for managing datasets (e.g. merge, split), as well as more specialized techniques such as transposing data, and making valued relationships dichotomous or directional relationships symmetrical.
  4. Analyze – Capabilities to run a core set of the most common analyses typically run on network data (e.g. density, centrality, blockmodels, n-Cliques) using algorithms that are currently available only through fragmented software packages (e.g. UCINET, Pajek, KliqueFinder). Where appropriate, multiple measures for a common concept should be offered. And all analyses should share a common look and feel, work off of a common active data set, and generate standardized outputs to report results.
  5. Test – Capabilities for conducting statistical significance tests of social networks. Also support the use of social network data as explanatory variables in more traditional regression-based analyses such as in SPSS and SAS. As such, include integration bridges with the major statistical software packages and support of their file formats.
  6. Visualize –Capabilities for visualizing social network data drawing on the active data set and related outputs used in other part of the applications (e.g. Netdraw).
  7. Collaborate – Capabilities for group workflow and the ability for teams of users to work with a common data set. Research projects often involve multiple individuals working with a data set, and multiple datasets that relate to one another but have been fragmented based on the needs of different individuals. As a Web 2.0 application, a comprehensive tool could enable this type of collaboration.
  8. Program – Capabilities for accessing and manipulating its standard algorithms, developing new capabilities as extensions, and bypassing wizards and ease-of-use GUI limitations for power users.