Repository logo

Social network analysis workshop for water and resource management




Herzog, Margaret T., author
Labadie, John W., author
Grigg, Neil S., author

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Social network analysis (SNA) is a system for studying relationships and transactions between people, organizations, countries, and other entities. The purpose of this CWI project was to research and apply SNA techniques, then develop materials to provide a Fall 2013 half-day introductory workshop in Social Network Analysis for Water and Natural Resources Management at Colorado State University (CSU). The SNA workshop introduced interested students and professionals in engineering, natural resources, agriculture, and other scientific disciplines to complimentary analysis for human dimensions of their work and research through SNA principles and techniques. Complex social-ecological systems cannot be well-studied by only relying on technical analysis of the natural systems. SNA can help analyze how humans interact with resources and their environment and how their ties affect management choices. Social network structure can then be improved to enhance cooperation and innovation. CSU TILT instructional designers were involved in periodic workshop materials review with focus on implementing Research-Based Instructional (RBI) design. The workshop was marketed intensively for three weeks prior to delivery. The most effective means of participant recruitment were word of mouth and group emails, rather than posted flyers or campus-wide online calendars and newsletters. Instead of a traditional classroom, the SNA workshop was held in a conference room that permitted all attendees to sit facing one another around a large oval table, which enhanced participation and shared learning. Expert speakers with real world experience and warnings helped attendees better understand SNA application context and nuance. Providing two smaller sessions, rather than one larger offering, also allowed all attendees to participate more fully, and post-workshop evaluations from the first session were used to improve the second session by most evaluation measures. Follow-up included posting an SNA software demo online using CSU Echo 360 software and expanding other resources and discussion at the SNA Workshop Collaborative website to serve as an ongoing source for learning and sharing. Although not in the scope of the original project, in the Spring of 2014, a half-hour panel brief, a shortened seminar for undergraduates, and SNA software training for graduate students were also tested for SNA technical education merit. The SNA workshop will continue to be refined and tailored to specific CSU departments and programs, and it may be offered to more academic institutions and for other groups and agencies statewide and nationwide. Since attendees felt more time was needed to cover the many related topics and better learn SNA software tools for different applications, the SNA workshop will also be developed into a semester-long course and related textbook.


April 2014.

Rights Access


social network analysis (SNA)
social-ecological systems
adaptive co-management (ACM)
researched-based instruction (RBI)
coalition building
integrated water resources management (IWRM)
network weaver


Associated Publications