Paksi Veronika – Tardos Katalin (2024). Professional networking in the field of social sciences

Paksi Veronika – Tardos Katalin (2024). Professional networking in the field of social sciences. Belvedere Meridionale vol. 36. no. 1. pp 43–54. 


Professional networking is of paramount importance for academic researchers in terms of their professional development and career advancement. In the national and international literature, research on network building typically takes a quantitative approach, while research using qualitative methods on network building is less common among researchers. Furthermore, gender differences in the field of networking tend to be more typically studied in male-dominated STEM fields (science, technology, mathematics and engineering). In our research, we conducted twenty-five semi-structured interviews with researchers who obtained a doctoral degree in the social sciences in Hungary, asking them about the importance of network building in their profession and career development, whether they have been trained for networking, and how consciously they build their professional networks. Moreover, we asked our respondents to subjectively evaluate the quality of their own networking skills. The results show that researchers are clearly aware of the crucial role of networking in their research careers; they also encounter the positive aspects of networking as well as its downsides; and although they have not been formally taught the importance and methods of networking, the older generation in senior positions may already be keen to share their experiences with younger researchers. The modes and self-assessment of networking varied by gender, with women’s disadvantage in the social sciences also confirmed. Another novel finding of the research is that social scientists perceive countryside residence as a disadvantage for networking in Hungary.