Using social network analysis to assess communications and develop networking tools among climate change professionals across the Pacific Islands region

Laura Kate Corlew, Victoria Keener, Melissa Finucane, Laura Brewington, Rachel Nunn-Crichton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The climate science community of professionals in Hawai'i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands is a vast interdisciplinary and international group, with the potential for spatial and sectoral barriers to communication and collaboration. This study sought to (1) assess the structural nature and expanse of climate-based communication between professionals across sectors in the Pacific Islands region; (2) identify key regional hubs and isolated groups both sectorally and spatially; and, (3) create a set of place-based tools that would increase and facilitate the connectedness of climate change resources (human, research, and adaptation). Social network analysis was chosen as a versatile method to assess the network and create free tools to facilitate future collaborations among stakeholders across spatial and disciplinary boundaries. Given the complexities of the large network, an innovative approach was used for data collection, blending a nominalist (researcher-created list of names) and realist (participant-created list in open fields) survey construction. Participants indicated frequency of communication to capture both active coworkers and periodic collaborators, consistent with the realities of the network. Survey participation was not confidential and was used to create region-wide and sub-regional maps that can be used by stakeholders to increase connectedness, in line with use-inspired science. Study results reveal a simultaneously diffuse and strongly connected network, with no isolated spatial or sectoral groups. The most central network members are those with a strong networking component to their professions. Gaps in communication were also revealed. Future research should evaluate the use and long term benefits of the created networking tools, and the specific nature of local and international communications within each sub-network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-146
Number of pages14
JournalPsychosocial Intervention
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Climate science communication
  • Collaboration
  • Pacific Islands
  • Professional network
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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