Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Emison, Gerald A.

Committee Member

Shaffer, Stephen D.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Committee Member

French, P. Edward

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


Peer reviewed journal articles are one way in which scholars communicate with each other and the public. Such publications create networks of collaboration. This study uses social network analysis techniques and theory to examine the network of collaborations that occur in public administration. Social network analysis is a perspective that takes into account the structure of relationships that can exist among individuals, organizations or other entities (Wellman, 2008). The small world theory is the specific theoretical framework that guides this study. The small world theory is based on the notion that despite a population being very large, individuals in that population are still connected with each other within a few steps. The author constructs a scientific network of research collaborations by assigning a relationship to two actors who have co-published an article together in the Public Administration Review, American Review of Public Administration, or The Review of Public Personnel Administration during the time periods of January 2003- December 2011. The results of this analysis reveal that the public administration network consists primarily of faculty members. The network also exhibits a high degree of clustering and several cliques. On average, individuals in the network are only slightly farther apart from each other than what would be expected in a small world network. This research contributes to public administration by introducing scientific networks of collaboration to public administration. The field has not ignored who publishes in its journals, but it has not used network analysis techniques to examine such publications. This study demonstrates how network analysis techniques and methodology can be used to examine a large network. Finally, this research contributes to the small world theory by applying it to scientific networks in public administration.



co-publication||colloboration||scientific networks||Networks