PARTNER is a Social Network Analysis Tool to Collect, Analyze, & Interpret Data to Improve Collaboration within Community Networks

The Need for Tools to Assess Partnerships/Collaboration

A major challenge facing organizations today is how to partner with other organizations, agencies, and groups to collaboratively address social and political goals while effectively maximizing resource sharing of the partners involved.  However, the process by which organizations have engaged partners in collaboration has varied, with few ways to measure the success of these partnerships. Public leaders are eager to understand how to analyze the collaboratives in which they are involved so that they may determine whether efforts to focus resources on partnership or collaborative development are working. PARTNER is a social network analysis tool designed to measure and monitor collaboration among people/organizations. The tool is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and designed for use by collaboratives/coalitions to demonstrate how members are connected, how resources are leveraged and exchanged, the levels of trust, and to link outcomes to the process of collaboration. The tool includes an online survey that you can administer to collect data and an analysis program that analyzes these data.  By using the tool, you will be able to demonstrate to stakeholders, partners, evaluators, and funders how your collaborative activity has changed over time and progress made in regard to how community members and organizations participate. Using PARTNER, you will be able to analyze relationships in three ways: Create visuals (similar to the image to the above right) to see who is connected to whom.

  • Assess network scores including metrics on the number and quality of relationships, the trust between partners, the value that each partner brings to the larger collaborative, and assessments of the roles that each member of the collaborative play based on how they are connected to others.
  • Assess outcomes measures to indicate process and products achieved as a result of collaborating across sectors.

Questions You Can Answer Using Partner

  • “What are the quantity and quality of relationships in community collaboratives?”
  • “Do gaps, vulnerabilities, and inefficiencies exist among partnerships?”
  • “How well do people leverage scarce public dollars by collaborating?”
  • “How can members of a collaborative remain accountable to their funders and stakeholders?”
  • “What models/frameworks for collaboration work best?”

Benefits of Using the Tool

PARTNER is unique from other social network analysis tools because this tool includes both a survey and an analysis tool. The survey is linked to the analysis tool, allowing you to analyze your data with a simple command to “upload” your data. It requires no data cleaning or creation of a network survey from scratch. PARTNER provides a comprehensive set of tools that take you from start to finish, and puts you in control of when your survey is administered and the results are analyzed.  With PARTNER, you can:

  • Evaluate how well your collaborative is working in terms of identifying the “right” partners, leveraging resources, and strategizing for how to improve the work of the collaborative.
  • Demonstrate to partners, stakeholders, evaluators, and funders how your collaborative is progressing over time and why working together is making tangible change.
  • Engage in strategic collaborative management to develop action steps and implement change to reap the benefits of social networking.

How it Works

  1. One person is designated as the “Manager”. This person will identify who will be asked to participate in the survey and is responsible of for data management.
  2. Members of the collaborative answer surveys online.
  3. The Manager stores the data and imports it into the PARTNER tool.
  4. Together, the Manager and members of the collaborative discuss results and next steps.

Elements of the Tools

The following are examples of data that will be collected.

  • Identification of partners within the collaboration.
  • Record of the frequency of interactions.
  • Elements of the strength and quality of the interactions.
  • Measures of trust and value within the collaboration.
  • Network scores to report and illustrate changes to collaboration activity over time.
  • Outcomes measures related to success of the collaborative, products and programs developed, and change to relationships among members of the collaborative are provided.

Resources for Using PARTNER

Contact Information

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