Social network analysis for program implementation Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services
  • Social Networking


  • This paper introduces the use of social network analysis theory and tools for implementation research. The social network perspective is useful for understanding, monitoring, influencing, or evaluating the implementation process when programs, policies, practices, or principles are designed and scaled up or adapted to different settings. We briefly describe common barriers to implementation success and relate them to the social networks of implementation stakeholders. We introduce a few simple measures commonly used in social network analysis and discuss how these measures can be used in program implementation. Using the four stage model of program implementation (exploration, adoption, implementation, and sustainment) proposed by Aarons and colleagues [1] and our experience in developing multi-sector partnerships involving community leaders, organizations, practitioners, and researchers, we show how network measures can be used at each stage to monitor, intervene, and improve the implementation process. Examples are provided to illustrate these concepts. We conclude with expected benefits and challenges associated with this approach.

publication date

  • June 25, 2015



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC4482437

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0131712

PubMed ID

  • 26110842

Additional Document Info

start page

  • e0131712


  • 10


  • 6