Introduction

Welcome to the Polinode Guide. This guide provides written documentation on the Polinode network analysis platform. You may also find our tutorial videos helpful - they can be found here and contain both quick start guides that will get you up and running in less than 10 minutes as well as more detailed walkthroughs.

If you have a question that is not answered by either this guide or our tutorial videos, please get in touch with us via our support channel. You can lodge a ticket here or simply email us at support@polinode.com.

What is Polinode?

Polinode is a tool for the collection, analysis and visualization of connected data. What do we mean by connected data? Well we mean networks or graphs, that is to say entities that are connected to other entities. Polinode is to networks as Excel is to rows and columns of data.

There are two core parts to Polinode - Networks and Surveys. In the application you will see that Networks and Surveys are separate but as you will see below they are closely related.

Networks

When logging into the application for the first time, the first menu item you will see in the header is "Networks". A network in Polinode is a collection of entities (nodes) and relationships between those entities (edges) and we allow you to upload data to Polinode and then interactively explore and analyze it as a network.

Importantly, since Polinode is a cloud-based platform you can also share these interactive networks with others either publicly or privately. The first major section in this guide walks you through our Networks functionality and you can jump to it by clicking here.

Surveys

Polinode also provides the ability to collect connected data via relationship-based surveys. Our Surveys tool can be accessed by clicking on the second menu item in the header, "Surveys". You can think of our Surveys functionality as being like a regular survey but with one very important question - it allows you to easily ask questions of the respondents about their relationships with other respondents. In fact it's possible to run normal surveys using Polinode but what is really designed for is asking questions like "Who do you go to for advice?" and "Who would you like more access to?". This is what we mean by relationship questions.

There is an important connection between our Networks functionality and Surveys functionality. Once you've run a relationship-based survey in Polinode you can simply click a button and, for reach relationship question in your survey, an interactive network will be generated and available under Networks. The second major section in this guide walks you through our Surveys functionality, including how to build and run relationship-based surveys. To jump to the Surveys section of this guide click here.

Using Polinode for Organizational Network Analysis

Polinode is a highly-flexible and powerful platform that was built for organizational network analysis (ONA). That is to say that it allows a user to understand the informal relationships between people inside of an organization and thereby improve the way that that organization functions. Of course many of our users have used Polinode for use cases that fall outside of what would traditionally be called organizational network analysis and we would encourage you to use Polinode outside of this domain. Still, the core of our user base is focussed on organizational network analysis so we have provided a bit of background on this use case below.

Organizational Network Analysis is traditionally divided up into two types - Passive ONA and Active ONA. Passive ONA refers to using electronic communication data such as email logs to collect information on the connections between people in an organization. Active ONA on the other hand uses direct input from employees in the organization themselves who answer a series of questions about their relationships with other employees.

Polinode can be used for both Passive ONA as well as Active ONA. Using our Networks functionality it is possible to upload any type of connected data to Polinode, including from email logs and other sources. And our Surveys functionality has been specifically built for running the kinds of relationship-based surveys that are required for Active ONA.

The Dashboard

When you first login to Polinode you will see a dashboard that, for most users, will contain four boxes:

  1. Your Networks: Summarises the total number of networks that you have access to. This includes both your own networks as well as any networks that another user has given you access to. You will be taken directly to a list of your networks by clicking here.
  2. Your Surveys: Summarises the total of surveys that you have access to. This includes your own surveys as well as any other surveys that another user has given you access to. You will be taken directly to a list of your surveys by clicking here.
  3. Discoverable Networks: Summarises the total number of public networks in Polinode that are available for you to discover and view. By clicking here you will be taken directly to a list of these public networks.
  4. Billing: Clicking here will take you directly to the billing page from where you can manage your account.