Evaluating Networks Using PARTNER: A Social Network Evaluation Tool
Today, cross-sector partners are working together and utilizing a systems approach to solve and tackle complex social problems facing their communities. While building cross-sector organizational networks has become a best practice in solving complex problems, there is little guidance or evidence on how it can be accomplished without overburdening resource-stressed systems. Social network analysis (SNA) is one method for evaluating networks using a quantitative approach to measure the strength of connections, how organizations position themselves in a network, leverage resources, and assess the quality and impact of exchanges within the network. The PARTNER Tool (Program to Analyze, Record, and Track Networks to Enhance Relationships) leverages concepts of network science and SNA to provide a validated survey, measures, and analysis tool for network evaluation. The PARTNER methodology assesses the strengths (and gaps) among member relationships, how members perceive trust and value in partnerships, the creation of member relationships and how they have evolved, and identifies needs and gaps based on agreement on outcomes and success at reaching network goals. This chapter provides specific steps to implement the PARTNER Tool Methodology, including customizing the validating survey, administration of the online survey, analyzing the results using the PARTNER evaluation framework, and translating the data to actionable strategies
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