Advanced Studies for Pro-Users
Adventurous Pro-users who wants to try out academic software for analysis can do so by exporting their data: in Socilyzer datasets can be exported as both VNA or Excel files. VNA files can be opened in many academic visualization tools.
Three of the most useful SNA tools are UciNet, NetDraw and Pajek. UciNet and NetDraw are the most popular tools and are most often used together. UciNet is for statistics and NetDraw is mainly for visualization. Pajek is less user friendly, but like the other tools relatively easy to learn. All of these tools are used by social network analysts and researchers but none of them can be used for data collection and only UciNet has some data manipulation features.
Perhaps the best way to get started with advanced social network analysis is to read Hanneman and Riddle’s “Introduction to social network methods” (see ‘Suggested readings’) if using UciNet and NetDraw, or if using Pajek one should read de Nooy et al.s “Exploratory social network analysis with Pajek”. UciNet and NetDraw are our preferred tools for advanced social network analysis.
Gephi is a tool for making advanced network visualizations. With Gephi you can generate a ton of different layouts for your network and adjust colors, shapes, lines etc. Gephi will also read the export data sets.
All of the programs have fairly steep learning curves compared to Socilyzer, but they also give you access to more exotic measurements and statistics. Measurements that can reveal details about the social networks beyond the essential information that Socilyzer provides.
An in-detail analysis of especially large social networks can be intimidating. If it seems overwhelming you can export data sets in formats that any SNA consultant will be able to use. Consultants also have experience with formulating and implementing solutions based on their findings so they will often be able to help you act on the results.
Academics familiar with the statistical programming language R, or even not, will find both the statnet and igraph package useful.