Section 1 – Quick Introduction to Network Analysis

Lesson 5 – Nodes and Edges

Any network consists of the nodes and the connections between them, the edges. The nodes represent more or less solid entities that do not change over time, the edges represent the relations, interactions, transactions or any other temporary connections that occur between the nodes over a period of time. 

For example, if we were to come into a room where there are 11 people and you don’t know anyone, the network representation of this situation would look something like this:



There are 6 people who don’t know each other (including you), 3 people who know each other (the nodes Marcela, Caiqui and Renata on the right) and 2 other people who know each other (Diego and Dmitry). 

This representation helps you have a good overview of the situation. Studies have shown that graph representations encourage people to make new connections in places where there are structural gaps between the nodes. Therefore, thinking in terms of the nodes and the edges does not only make you more aware of your surrounding, but also encourages you to link people up.

In this particular scenario the edges represent some friendships that have been established before the group came together in this particular constellation. So if you are to make more connections you could either follow the same logic or introduce a different connectivity basis, which will establish completely new constellations between the nodes. We will talk about it in more detail in the next lesson.