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Graph Theory in the Analysis of Personal Documents

Human Relations , Volume 12 (1): 65 – Feb 1, 1959


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1959 by SAGE Publications
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Graph Theory in the Analysis of Personal Documents


Graph Theory in the Analysis of Personal Documents CHARLES A. DAILEY1 SINCE the Social Science Research Council published its surveys of the uses of personal documents (1, 4), there have been few projects undertaking the studies recommended. Why this failure on the part of anthropologists, historians, psycho- logists, or sociologists to attack such a weighty methodological problem? One reason is the lack of any systematic framework of analysis applicable to the many diverse types of document. This paper presents a model for representing the structure of documents. It is hoped that the model will make a systematic frame- work of analysis eventually possible. It is proposed, in brief, that the mathematical theory of graphs (5) provides a set of concepts which have been rigorously developed, permit quantitative analysis, and are capable of being applied to the contents of such documents as case histories, biographies, projective protocols, anthropological studies, diplomatic papers, and, in general, any narrative account of human behavior. There have been many prior attempts to provide concepts applicable to one type of personal document or another. There are numerous scoring systems for Rorschach and Thematic Apperception protocols. These systems, however, not only are usually limited to one
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