Data Acquisition and Preparation for Social Network Analysis Based on Email – Lessons Learned


  1. Ma, F.
  2. Allen, D.
  3. Dooley, P.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
In sharing information to improve situational awareness, other government departments and remotely situated outposts may vary in their reporting of information. A social network analysis was initiated within the Department of National Defence to show where informal communication may be significant to information sharing. The study was undertaken circa Q3 2006 by the Experimentation Operational Research Team at the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre for the Command and Sense Team. Analytical results are not available, as the undertaking was not completed. This report describes the lessons learned in planning the data collection and preparation for the social network analysis. The work was done under project Polar Guardian, the goal of which was to assess situational awareness in the arctic. The plan for the social network analysis included an initial email-based phase and a follow-up survey-based phase. This report focuses on the email phase; it is not a comparison of the two phases as separate approaches. Due to the short time frame for conducting the trial on the social network analysis approach, in-house methods for data acquisition and analysis were explored. The main challenges in this approach arise from generating the communications data from email tracking logs in isolation from other information gathering and information providing parts of a corporate computer network. Commercial tools were investigated, and warrant further examination. Their use requires a longer

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Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2009-030 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Jun 2009
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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