Susan Kistler on Low-cost/No-cost Tools for Evaluators and Winning a Copy of NodeXL Guide

I am Susan Kistler, the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and regular aea365 Saturday contributor. I wanted to take today and build on Marc Smith’s post from yesterday regarding NodeXL. Marc has been kind enough to do a bit of coaching to help get us up to speed on the use of this free tool, and I’ve learned as well from earlier posts from Johanna Morariu, and Shelly Engelman and Tom McKlin.

Rad Resource: If you would like to learn a bit more about interpreting the network graph found in Marc’s post, I wrote about doing so in an AEA newsletter article, the content of which may be found here.

Rad Resource: I was honored to attend the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute this past week and to give an updated version of a session I have offered before with LaMarcus Bolton on 25 low-cost/no-cost tools for evaluation. It included NodeXL as well as (over) 25 other tools that you may find useful in your evaluation practice.  The slide deck may be found here in AEA’s public eLibrary, along with over 1000 other great resources!

Rad Resource: Marc mentioned the book Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL that he co-authored. It is extremely useful if you are hoping to use NodeXL in your work.  I just finished it, and it answered so many of the questions I had about both Social Network Analysis (about which there are other books) and NodeXL (about which this is the only book!). For me, the book:

  1. Clarified the language of social network analysis
  2. Explained how SNA may be applied to social media with concrete examples of when and how to do so
  3. Helped me to understand how to analyze network maps and use them to provide actionable information

Hot Tip – Win a Copy of Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: In the comments for this post, share your favorite low-cost/no-cost tool for evaluation that is NOT already represented in the slide-deck and tell us why it is great. We’ll draw one response at random to win the book from among those submitted on or before April 15, and who knows, maybe your suggestion will be added to the next 25LCNC presentation as well!

Hot Tip – Coming Soon! I am working with a colleague to create a set of network maps in NodeXL that may be used as templates. Each will include a sample map, information on how to interpret what is there, and a step-by-step guide for downloading it and customizing it to apply to your own social media analysis project.

The above represents my own opinions and not necessarily those of the American Evaluation Association.

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