Art Imitates Life

Clinical and translatioImagenal research at the University of Rochester Medical Center is a multidisciplinary, collaborative team process. The “sociogram” at left illustrates the many and varied team connections among medical center researchers. Each circle represents a specific researcher; the size of the circle represents the number of collaborations reported for that investigator; colors represent departments; and lines represent reported collaborations among investigators. The diagram is a dramatic, if overwhelming, representation of the dense webs of relationships among research teams.

This work was done by the CTSI Evaluation Team, led by Dr. Ann Dozier. The team developed a method to document emerging research networks and collaborations in our medical center in order to describe their productivity and viability over time. Using an e-mail survey, sent to faculty members, respondents identified their research collaborators. Nearly 400 respondents identified 1,594 collaborations across 28 medical center departments, resulting in 309 networks with 5 or more collaborators.

Initial analyses, using Pajek software, assessed the feasibility of using social network analysis (SNA) methods with these data. This low-burden approach yielded a rich data set useful for evaluation using SNA to: (a) assess networks at several levels of the organization, including intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational/institutional, and physical/environmental; and (b) link with other data to assess the evolution of these networks.

The results from this pilot evaluation were published in the September 23rd, 2013 edition of the Journal of Evaluation & the Health Professions. To read the complete article, please click here.

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