Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a way of looking at data that involved networks and connections. Analysis performed on the relationships in the networks can lead to insight as to how the components and individuals in the group interact. SNA can be used for a wide range of ideas, including: people, concepts, literature, biological systems, electronic systems, and in this case, history.
SNA and the Gunpowder Plot
SNA was used to examine the groups and individuals associated with the events leading up to November 5th, 1605. Looking and analyzing the networks present provides insight as to how the conspirators, as well as the targets, acted in their respective cliques and how these social circles interacted. Using social network analysis, clusters and components can be identified, as well as potential connections between two individuals based on their own connections and influential actors in communities. With these qualitative measurements, quantitative analysis was done on the measurements of the closeness, embeddedness of certain important nodes, centrality, clustering coefficient, and density.
SNA and Conspiracy Theories
SNA was also used to analyze the conspiracy theory that the gunpowder plot was in fact an "inside job". Robert Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury, was strongly anti-Catholic, and theorists believe that he either invented the plot, or allowed it to continue even after the conspiracy had been infiltrated by Parliament agents. Theorists allege that the Earl of Salisbury did this in order to gain the trust and favor of the King, to increase anti-Catholic sentiment in the members of the House of Lords and Parliament, and push for legislation against Catholics. Some other theories that was explored was that Baron Monteagle had some connection to the plot, either helping or using it to increase policial status, and the theory well believed at the time: that Jesuit Priests were behind the entire plot.