Applications of Network Analysis in Evaluating Comprehensive Community Initiatives

Sanjeev Sridharan, WESTAT
David Gillespie, Washburn University
Heidi Zinzow, Caliber Associates

ABSTRACT
In this presentation, we implement network analysis techniques in two study sites to examine changes in collaborative networks between the planning and implementation phases of Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent and Chronic Juvenile Offenders (OJJDP, 1995). We study the collaborative networks between the "core organizations" using five measures of inter-organizational relationships: any interaction, frequency of interaction, any conflict, frequency of problems, and overall give and take. We implement a simple pre/post design to study changes in these measures between planning and implementation phases in the two sites.

The expectation implicit in the Comprehensive Strategy framework was that the gains in collaborations achieved during the planning phase would carry over to the implementation phase. The inclusive planning process was intended to "help create consensus on priorities and services to be provided, as well as build support for a comprehensive program approach that draws on all sectors of the community for participation (OJJDP 1995)." Collaborative planning was, therefore, expected to lead to the specification and implementation of a continued collaborative approach to risk-focused delinquency prevention and graduated sanctions. Using network analytic techniques, we examine whether the changes in collaboration are sustained into the implementation phase. Basic descriptive statistical analyses are used to assess change over time. The primary results are presented using simple descriptive techniques for each of the five measures.

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Updated 05/20/2006