Key considerations and challenges in the application of social-network research for environmental decision making

A. M. Guerrero, M. Barnes, O. Bodin, I. Chades, K. J. Davis, M. S. Iftekhar, C. Morgans, K. A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Attempts to better understand the social context in which conservation and environmental decisions are made has led to increased interest in human social networks. To improve the use of social-network analysis in conservation, we reviewed recent studies in the literature in which such methods were applied. In our review, we looked for problems in research design and analysis that limit the utility of network analysis. Nineteen of 55 articles published from January 2016 to June 2019 exhibited at least 1 of the following problems: application of analytical methods inadequate or sensitive to incomplete network data; application of statistical approaches that ignore dependency in the network; or lack of connection between the theoretical base, research question, and choice of analytical techniques. By drawing attention to these specific areas of concern and highlighting research frontiers and challenges, including causality, network dynamics, and new approaches, we responded to calls for increasing the rigorous application of social science in conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Biology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Feb 2020

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