Thesis: 5.4 Contribution to the literature

The software package tnet aims to help researchers and practitioners in two ways. First, it provides a simple tool for conducting a structural analysis of weighted networks, and investigating the mechanisms underpinning tie generation in longitudinal networks. This reduces the difficulty of taking the weights of ties and evolution into consideration, and has the potential of greatly lowering the cost of performing these types of analysis. As a result, more researchers and practitioners can apply the methods presented in this thesis to conduct network analysis.

Second, tnet makes available a platform that can handle both weighted and longitudinal network datasets. In so doing, researchers aiming to generalise network measures to these types of networks do not have to programme basic functions. Instead, they can focus on the new measures. For example, to study a new network growth mechanism in the evolution of a longitudinal network, researchers only need to write a small module to the tnet.growth.clogit-function. This gives researchers the opportunity to save time and reduce their effort. By lowering the cost of generalising measures for weighted and longitudinal networks, tnet might help drive this process.

tnet can be downloaded at http://opsahl.co.uk/tnet/ and hopefully soon on the CRAN-servers (Comprehensive R Archive Network). This will increase its visibility and enable wider dissemination.

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