Ego Network Analysis (ENA)

Ego Network Analysis (ENA)

Ego Network Analysis | Network Encyclopedia

What is Ego Network Analysis?

Ego network analysis is one of the two main types of social network analysis. Its unit of analysis is the network of all entities connected to one specific individual, from their perspective. This is in contrast to whole network analysis, where the unit of analysis is the entire network of all entities within pre-defined boundaries (like members in a club or residents in a community). Ego network analysis provides a perspective of the network from one of its members and does not capture the broader network. However, it is also easier to do than whole network analysis as you only need to survey one individual to map their ego network vs every member of a whole network.

Benefits of Ego Network Analysis

One of the main benefits on ENA is the ability to generate large numbers of ego networks to use for comparative analysis. To generate an ego network map, we only need to interview one individual and ask them a handful of questions. This makes it realistic to collect hundreds or even thousands of ego network datasets to use for comparison and explore how people build different types of networks and the various outcomes they produce. For example, researchers have used ego network analysis to capture the personal networks of job seekers and compare how those with different types of jobs have different levels of success finding a new job.

Whole Network Analysis is far more time consuming, making it difficult (if not impossible) to capture hundreds or thousands of networks with data that is easily comparable. 


Ego Network Analysis is used in a variety of different applications, industries, and use cases. Here are several different examples.
  1. Epidemiology Contact Tracing: When tracking the spread of disease, researchers often rely on ego network analysis when mapping the contact networks of those infected with an infectious disease.
  2. Support Network Mapping: We use PARTNERme to map the support network of those with complex healthcare or mental/behavioral health needs to identify strengths and gaps and connect them to helpful resources. 
  3. Social Media: Sites like LinkedIn are oriented around your ego network - those you know in your professional network. They usually do not allow you (or anyone) to view the whole network; You can only see your direct relationships.

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