Saturday, May 28, 2011

Social Group Analysis

My name is Rachel Stafford-Lewis and I am an undergraduate at UCLA. This past quarter my supervisor, Jennifer Smith, and I have been exploring a new method of assigning social groups for Dan Blumstein’s lab with yellow-bellied marmot data. We are working together to try to further understand the social network dynamics in these free-ranging mammals. We began by examining the www.mapequation.org website and organizing my data so that it included all non-pup marmots for the years 2002-2010.

Specifically, I formatted my data so that it was in the proper .net format and so that I could upload the files into the website properly. Once the files were uploaded, my job was to analyze the modules that were presented by the map generator and assign each to be a specific social group within in that year.

The website is easy to manipulate and the sociograms it creates have a very artistic and aesthetic appearance. There is a well-defined algorithm to assign the social groups and many versatile formats to save your data. It is also easy to change the color and arrangement of each module to reflect what you are trying to emphasize. The data seen above is a .pdf displaying the modular level sociogram from the year 2009.

Beyond the modular level, when you can select to “show source network” and see multiple circles. Each circle represents a different marmot and each connection between them is either thick/dark blue or thin/light blue to represent their social interactions, or lack thereof.

All Non-Pup Adults in the year 2002

There is an additional analysis option called the alluvial generator that is a promising future tool to see how the social groups change from year to year in a simple and easy to understand presentation.

Now that we have assigned social groups using the social network approach, I look forward to testing hypotheses about social evolution as part of an independent research project in the future, so stayed tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Social Group Analysis is almost same with Social Network Analysis and you have very beautifully presented it by using graphs...Thank you

    ReplyDelete