The Small World of the University: A Classroom Exercise in the Study of Networks
Stevenson, William B.; Davidson, Barbara; Manev, Ivan; Walsh, Kate
A small world study is an easy way to introduce students to the challenges and rewards of network studies. Hypotheses about networks can be formulated and easily tested during the course of a term. Here, hypotheses about the communication patterns among undergraduates were tested by creating a small world study with an administrator as a target. Undergraduates were found to prefer to pass small world folders among their own class and did not pass folders to lower classes. Graduate students, faculty and staff were more closely connected to the administration as compared to undergraduate students, and freshmen were particularly isolated in communication networks. Women relied more on homophilous ties to pass folders compared to men, and both sexes relied on homophilous ties when passing folders across occupational boundaries.
social networks; communication patterns; homophilous ties; social structure
Required Publisher Statement: © INSNA. Final version published as: Stevenson, W. B., Davidson, B., Manev, I., & Walsh, K. (1997). The small world of the university: a classroom exercise in the study of networks. Connections, 20(2), 23-33. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.