Edited by Carmen Pérez-Vidal and Cristina Sanz
[Research Methods in Applied Linguistics 4] 2023
► pp. 345–372
This chapter introduces the concept of the social network (SN) and its origins in social sciences as a means of linking identity and social practice. The concept has been adopted primarily by study abroad (SA) researchers interested in explaining variation in SA social integration and related language learning outcomes. The chapter reviews different empirical approaches adopted to study sojourner SNs, including case studies, mathematical modelling and graphic visualisation. It is argued that SN research has enriched our understanding of sojourners’ evolving social and linguistic practices, but that its contribution to understanding variation in linguistic development remains underdeveloped. A set of principles is proposed to guide future research, supporting closer links between the study of SNs and sojourner language practices.