With three examples, we explore different ways of conceptualizing networks of nodes and links as educationally relevant entities. We show how one can analyse networks as they evolve over time − the dynamics of networks − and how one can model dynamic processes on networks. We also explain how networks can have both visual and mathematical properties that make them tractable as a way of generating knowledge about relational data. We suggest how a theory that emphasizes relational aspects might be developed using networks by providing an example about social networks, where we explain the generation of the theory-like structures rules of interaction, which are meant to have explanatory power. Likewise, we make interpretations of student discussions that are shaped in part by the algorithm we use to create discussion maps as well as by the changes we make to the transcript. The article illustrates how in a teacher-student dialogue, the structure of the network shapes the way we comprehend and talk about discussion networks. All these are dependent on the relational character of networks and would not be the same without that perspective. In other words, the theoretical positions we develop are shaped by the nature of networks. We conclude the article by discussing three developments, which need to occur to realize the potential of using network analysis in educational research.
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