Social Network Analysis for the U.S. National Climate Assessment: A Tool for Improving the Transmission of Scientific Information to Public Audiences

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Julie Maldonado1, Kenneth Frank2 and Tingqiao Chen2, (1)US Global Change Research Program, Washington D.C., DC, United States, (2)Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States
The U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA) is working with experts from Michigan State University to use social network analysis to analyze the NCA’s outreach and engagement activities to improve upon these components for the ongoing, sustained assessment. The social network analysis diagrams the NCA’s engagement with stakeholders around the country, showing how the network of stakeholders with whom the NCA engaged expanded over the course of the Third NCA. Showing the avenues for how information moves through a social system, social network analysis can be used to inform gaps in the types and locations of stakeholders engaged with, suggesting places to improve the flow of information. The social network analysis helped illuminate which stakeholders were involved in the Third NCA and which were missed, what key networks the NCA has engaged with, and to what extent these relationships have been sustained.

This presentation will include examples of how the outcomes of the social network analysis can be used to better understand the engagement and outreach with a group of stakeholders, what networks in a particular group were engaged with, what the gaps were, and ways to improve in the future. It will also include suggestions for how to more effectively translate climate change information to stakeholders. This information can help inform the ongoing NCA on how to more successfully reach stakeholder groups and improve its public engagement and outreach.