Social network analysis for program implementation

Thomas W. Valente, Lawrence A. Palinkas, Sara Czaja, Kar Hai Chu, C. Hendricks Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


This paper introduces the use of social network analysis theory and tools for implementation research. The social network perspective is useful for understanding, monitoring, influencing, or evaluating the implementation process when programs, policies, practices, or principles are designed and scaled up or adapted to different settings. We briefly describe common barriers to implementation success and relate them to the social networks of implementation stakeholders.We introduce a few simple measures commonly used in social network analysis and discuss how these measures can be used in program implementation. Using the four stage model of program implementation (exploration, adoption, implementation, and sustainment) proposed by Aarons and colleagues [1] and our experience in developing multi-sector partnerships involving community leaders, organizations, practitioners, and researchers, we show how network measures can be used at each stage to monitor, intervene, and improve the implementation process. Examples are provided to illustrate these concepts.We conclude with expected benefits and challenges associated with this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0131712
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 25 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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