Network strength can be evaluated by the presence of the Seven Elements of Effective Networks. The following questions can be incorporated in evaluation tools to indicate the presence and strength of the ties between the people in your network.
Are People in the Network Building Strong Connections?
(Relates to the presence of Social Ties, Shared Vision, Common Language)
- [ ] Are there frequent opportunities for people in the network to socialize together?
- [ ] When there are miscommunications or disagreements, do people in the network continue to talk to one another?
- [ ] Do people in the network feel that the goals of the network align with their own goals?
- [ ] Are there examples of inside jokes or other unique group interactions?
- [ ] Are there examples of people in the network sharing definitions of words with one another? Or clarifying language use when they are unclear with others?
- [ ] Do people have a regular opportunity to share stories and personal examples with one another?
Does the Network Draw on Strong Leadership?
(Relates to network actors)
- [ ] Do people in the network understand what authority they have to propose new activities or changes to the network?
- [ ] Does the network have “doers” as well as “talkers”?
- [ ] When a person in the network communicates a problem, opportunity or need, do they receive a response from network organizers?
- [ ] Do network leaders regularly seek feedback on the tools and resources people in the network need? And then find opportunities to provide them through the network?
How Effective are the Network’s Tools?
(Relates to the presence of Communications Grid, Feedback Mechanisms, Shared Resources)
- [ ] Do people in the network have multiple ways to stay in touch?
- [ ] Do the communications methods used in the network match personal preferences identified at the onset of the project? (Assumes people in the network have been surveyed about their communications preferences.)
- [ ] Do at least 1 percent of the people in the network create content? Do at least 9 percent of people in the network respond/react to content?