Technical Paper Ascribing Outcomes of Complex Interventions to Social Networks
How "Sociomapping" Was Used to Assess Results for the Love Your Block Evaluation
Mary Bogle, Matthew Gerken, Leiha Edmonds, Christopher Davis
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Across the country, public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations develop and implement geographically targeted programs aimed at improving the social and economic outcomes of communities. Assessing the results of a multifaceted initiative can be challenging for many reasons, including the amount of time needed to identify the sustained impacts of its investments and the difficulty of assessing who is responsible for collective changes that are influenced by numerous programs and stakeholders. This technical report explores a promising mixed-methods approach for ascribing social outputs, outcomes, and policy changes to increases in “social connectedness” within and across groups. We document our methods, which include collecting city- and neighborhood-level data, translating those data into social network analyses, and using those analyses to plot a limited set of effects onto outcomes maps. We end with insights for researchers, city officials, and others looking for more precise explanations of how weaving together formal and informal relationships promotes improved outcomes. We hope this report will serve as a resource for those looking to ascribe the outputs and outcomes created by complex efforts like place-based community change initiatives to improvements in social connectedness.

Research Areas Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Tags Arts and culture Community and economic development
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center