Social Network Analysis for [M&E of] Program Implementation

Valente, T.W., Palinkas, L.A., Czaja, S., Chu, K.-H., Brown, C.H., 2015. Social Network Analysis for Program Implementation. PLoS ONE 10, e0131712. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131712 Available as pdf

“Abstract: 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”.

Selected quotes:

“Getting evidence-based programs into practice has increasingly been recognized as a concern in many domains of public health and medicine [4, 5]. Research has shown that there is a considerable lag between an invention or innovation and its routine use in a clinical or applied setting [6]. There are many challenges in scaling up proven programs so that they reach the many people in need [7–9].”

“Partnerships are vital to the successful adoption, implementation and sustainability of successful programs. Indeed, evidence-based programs that have progressed to implementation and translation stages report that effective partnerships with community-based, school, or implementing agencies are critical to their success [11, 17, 18]. Understanding which partnerships can be created and maintained can be accomplished via social network analysis.”


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