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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Political phenomena are inherently relational, so it is natural that network analysis should come to play an important role in the study of politics. And yet relational data present special practical and methodological problems. The network data scholars would like to collect are often incomplete or altogether inaccessible. It is tempting to take whatever data are available and treat these as a proxy for the desired variables. This chapter reviews the most prominent relational concepts in political science and the operationalization strategies and data collection techniques typically employed. It then examines common practices for handling missing data and identifies recent innovations in this area. Finally, the chapter recommends that political scientists give more consideration to the concept development and measurement phases of research design and proposes possible directions for the development of network measurement models.

Keywords: relational concepts, network measurement, validity and reliability, research design, missing data, network boundaries, latent relations

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