Longitudinal Networks

The different potential causal directions of network research reflected in the questions raised above (i.e., theories of networks and network theories) often lead people to ask how best to address temporality in network data and analyses. As with many of the necessary methodological considerations raised in this book, there are elements that have direct overlaps with approaches drawn from standard research methods, other elements that require adaptation from these approaches, and still others that solely matter for networks research. For now, I will simply note that if, for example, you are concerned with addressing questions about network theories, it is not going to be sufficient to simply be sure that the network measures precede those observations that you aim to explain. In the chapters that follow, I will address longitudinal considerations above and beyond those linked to capturing static snapshots of network data, where such temporally-specific methodological considerations require unique adaptations or strategies of their own for network research.14