CYGNA: Social network analysis and managing large research teams

Since moving to the UK, I have been involved in running CYGNA. The network was established in June 2014  as a combined initiative of Argyro Avgoustaki, Ling Eleanor Zhang, and Anne-Wil Harzing, later joined by Shasha Zhao. The name CYGNA derives from the female version of the Latin word for SWAN (Supporting Women in Academia Network). The main objective of the group is to promote interaction among female academics based in the London area and to provide a forum for learning, support, and networking.


We typically hold four or five meetings a year with a mix of presentations and informal discussions. A quick overview of the topics covered can be found here. Yearly meeting overviews with pictures can be found here. In February 2018, I have started to write up our meetings as blogposts so from February till June 2018 you'll find reports on a mix of recent and older CYGNA meetings on my blog. A full list of the blogposts of our mid 2014 to mid 2018 meetings can be found at CYGNA: Resource collection for the summer holidays. We also maintain a readings and inspirations section for female academics and have a Twitter hashtag #cygna_london.

17th meeting 22 September 2017 (Middlesex University)

Organised by Shasha Zhao and Anne-Wil Harzing, Middlesex University

We met in the Hendon Town Hall, our favourite meeting place on the Middlesex campus. We had a mixed group of old-timers and Middlesex colleagues. Special guest was Barbara Myloni (bottom row, right), who was my very first PhD student 20 years ago and is now at the University of Patras in Greece. We had two presentations dealing respectively with social network analysis and managing large research collaborations.

Using SNA in various research streams and as personal network analysis

In this presentation I shared some of my experience with  social network analysis (SNA) as a research and analytic tool, but also showed how SNA could be used as a personal development tool. To illustrate how to use SNA, I collected data from Cygna members and analyzed it, with an eye toward understanding how the network functions currently (see sample below), so that we can strengthen connections between its members in the future.

Herding cats: how to manage large research networks

In this presentation I drew on my experience of leading several large-scale international research projects, where I managed a team of researchers collecting data in 25+ countries. The results of these projects are described in the blogpost Language effects in international mail surveys. Here I focused on the process of managing large teams. As there is no picture of me presenting I am including on of the two lessons learned slides here.

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