What's in a name generator? Choosing the right name generators for social network surveys in healthcare quality and safety research

Ronald S. Burt, David O. Meltzer*, Michael Seid, Amy Borgert, Jeanette W. Chung, Richard B. Colletti, George Dellal, Stacy A. Kahn, Heather C. Kaplan, Laura E. Peterson, Peter Margolis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Interest in the use of social network analysis (SNA) in healthcare research has increased, but there has been little methodological research on how to choose the name generators that are often used to collect primary data on the social connection between individuals for SNA. Objective: We sought to determine a minimum set of name generators sufficient to distinguish the social networks of a target population of physicians active in quality improvement (QI). Methods: We conducted a pilot survey including 8 name generators in a convenience sample of 25 physicians active in QI to characterize their social networks. We used multidimensional scaling to determine what subset of these name generators was needed to distinguish these social networks. Results: We found that some physicians maintain a social network organized around a specific colleague who performed multiple roles while others maintained highly differentiated networks. We found that a set of 5 of the 8 name generators we used was needed to distinguish the networks of these physicians. Conclusions: Beyond methodology for selecting name generators, our findings suggest that QI networks may require 5 or more generators to elicit valid sets of relevant actors and relations in this target population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1000
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Quality and Safety
Volume21
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

Cite this

Burt, R. S., Meltzer, D. O., Seid, M., Borgert, A., Chung, J. W., Colletti, R. B., Dellal, G., Kahn, S. A., Kaplan, H. C., Peterson, L. E., & Margolis, P. (2012). What's in a name generator? Choosing the right name generators for social network surveys in healthcare quality and safety research. BMJ Quality and Safety, 21(12), 992-1000. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2011-000521