Journal of Clinical Psychology
College of Humanities and Fine Arts
The use of exploratory network analysis has increased in psychopathology research over the past decade. A benefit of exploratory network analysis is the wealth of information it can provide; however, a single analysis may generate more inferences than what can be discussed in one manuscript (e.g., centrality indices of each node). This necessitates that authors choose which results to discuss in further detail and which to omit. Without a guide for this process, the likelihood of a biased interpretation is high. We propose that the integration of theory throughout the research process makes the interpretation of exploratory networks more manageable for the researcher and more likely to result in an interpretation that advances science. The goals of this paper are to differentiate between exploratory and confirmatory network analyses, discuss the utility of exploratory work, and provide a practical framework that uses theory as a guide to interpret exploratory network analyses.
Lass, A. N., Jordan, D. G., & Winer, E. S. (2022). Using theory to guide exploratory network analyses. Journal of Clinical Psychology.