Exploring sociocentric and egocentric approaches for social network analysis
In this paper, we introduce social network analysis for investigating the effect of network position and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use on the performance of general practitioners (GPs) residing in rural Australia. Here, we highlight the data collection procedure, its benefits and limitations and standard measures of social network data. We first suggest that collection and analysis of relational and attribute data offers richer insights with regards to the investigation of structural effects of network position on performance of GPs. Second, drawing from theoretical and methodological strengths of previous studies conducted in health care, we describe the process for collecting relational data from GPs in isolated and rural settings. We primarily discuss two specific types of social network data collection approaches--(i) whole network and (ii) ego-centric network approach; and highlight its opportunities and challenges. Third, we discuss the problem of network sampling in the context of GPs in rural areas. Finally, challenges associated with analysing social network data are presented.