The purpose of this article is to present a case study of one midwestern Agricultural Center (Ag Center) that used social network analysis (SNA) to (1) evaluate its collaborations with extramural stakeholders and (2) strategically plan for extending outreach for goal achievement. An evaluation team developed a data collection instrument based on SNA principles. It was administered to the Ag Center’s intramural stakeholders (N = 9), who were asked to identify the key extramural stakeholders with whom they had collaborated within the previous 12 months. Additional questions about each extramural stakeholder helped to categorize them according to SNA network measures for degree of centrality, betweenness centrality, and closeness centrality. Findings showed the Ag Center had N = 305 extramural stakeholders. Most of these were other researchers and did not represent the diverse group of stakeholders that the Ag Center had targeted for engagement. Only a few of the intramural stakeholders had national or international connections. Findings were used to improve and diversify connections in order to leverage the Ag Center’s expertise and ability to translate research into new best practices and policies. The SNA case study has implications for other evaluators and project directors looking for methodologies that can monitor networks in large science consortia and help leaders plan for translating research into practice and policies by networking with those who can influence such change.
- science consortia
- social network analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health