A network approach to studying effects of ethnic background on friendship and social groups
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A network approach to studying effects of ethnic background on friendship and social groups. Janna Fortuin Department of Education and Child Studies Leiden University, the Netherlands Ale š Ž iberna Faculty of Social Sciences University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. University of Ljubljana

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A network approach to studying effects of ethnic background on friendship and social groups l.jpg

A network approach to studying effects of ethnic background on friendship and social groups

Janna Fortuin

Department of Education and Child Studies

Leiden University, the Netherlands

Aleš Žiberna

Faculty of Social Sciences

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

University of Ljubljana

Faculty of Social Sciences


Outline l.jpg
Outline on friendship and social groups

  • Theory

  • Research question

  • Data and sample

  • Analysis

  • Results so far

  • Conclusion

  • discussion


Social relations l.jpg
Social relations on friendship and social groups

  • Social relations: difference between friendship and social interaction within the classroom

  • Friendship research: focus on individuals

  • similarity-attraction hypothesis

  • Does this apply to both friendship and interaction networks?


Social network analysis l.jpg
Social network analysis on friendship and social groups

  • Focus on dyads, within context of network

  • Study both structural and actor-effects

  • Friendship: directed networks

  • Social interaction: undirected networks

  • Social relations from an educational practical application: integration


Research question l.jpg
Research question on friendship and social groups

  • “To which degree are the friendship and interaction networks explained by objective and subjective ethnicity”

  • Controlling for structural effects, sociometric status, religion and activity involvement


Sample l.jpg
Sample on friendship and social groups

  • 296 pupils in 14 sixth-grade classrooms, drawn from 14 multicultural elementary schools

  • Mean age= 11.4 (s.d. 0.63)

  • Class size 15-30 pupils


Questionnaire l.jpg
Questionnaire on friendship and social groups

  • Friendship measure: “name your three best friends”

  • Social interaction measure: “who hangs out with whom”-> transformed using NETWORKS 4.0 into one social composite map with an undirected network

  • Subjective ethnicity: “I am a…”

  • Objective ethnicity: country of birth of parents


Network examples l.jpg
Network examples on friendship and social groups

green – boystriangles – subjective ethnicity is only Dutch

red – girls circles – subjective ethnicity is not only Dutch


Preliminary data analysis l.jpg
Preliminary data-analysis on friendship and social groups

  • Selection of 6 schools

  • Method: ERGM using SIENA

    • Missings were deleted

    • Some convergence problems


Ergm analysis l.jpg
ERGM analysis on friendship and social groups

  • Dependent variable: social interaction or friendship network

  • Candidates for explanatory variables:

    • network variables (reciprocity, transitivity, degree distribution)

    • objective and subjective ethnicity

    • controlling variables (gender, age, participation in activities, religion and social status)


Models with social interaction networks l.jpg
Models with Social Interaction Networks on friendship and social groups


Models with friendship networks l.jpg
Models with Friendship Networks on friendship and social groups


Results summarized l.jpg
Results summarized on friendship and social groups

  • No consistent pattern

  • Social interaction networks:

    • in half of the schools, ethnicity plays a role

    • some activity involvement effects

    • one effect of being Muslim


Results continued l.jpg
Results continued on friendship and social groups

  • Friendship Networks:

    • ethnicity plays a role in 3 out of 5 schools

    • some activity involvement effects

    • Also some effects of having a popular or rejected sociometric status


Conclusions l.jpg
Conclusions on friendship and social groups

  • Ethnicity plays a role in some classes, but it is not clear why this happens or doesn’t happen

  • A lot of variability in the type of ethnicity effect

  • Control variables are important in some classes, their inclusion sometimes diminishes the effect of ethnicity

  • Social interaction networks and friendship networks seem quite alike


Further analysis l.jpg
Further analysis on friendship and social groups

  • All 14 schools, perhaps with deletion of schools with many missings

  • Multilevel analysis of results to detect any consistent pattern (obtaining convergence for the same model in all schools can be problematic)

  • All schools (with not too many missings) as one network

  • Explanation for presence or absence of ethnicity effect: multicultural make-up of the class? Other class-level constructs? Teacher effects?


Discussion l.jpg
Discussion on friendship and social groups

  • Please give us your feedback, to improve the next analysis and the paper!


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