Sociometry is a quantitative method for measuring social
relationships. It was developed by psychotherapist
Jacob L. Moreno
Jacob L. Moreno in
his studies of the relationship between social structures and
psychological well-being and used during Remedial Teaching.
2 Moreno's criteria for sociometric tests
3 Anthropological applications
4 Other approaches and software
5 See also
7 External links
The term sociometry relates to its
Latin etymology, socius meaning
companion, and metrum meaning measure. Jacob Moreno defined sociometry
as "the inquiry into the evolution and organization of groups and the
position of individuals within them." He goes on to write "As the
...science of group organization, it attacks the problem not from the
outer structure of the group, the group surface, but from the inner
structure. "Sociometric explorations reveal the hidden structures that
give a group its form: the alliances, the subgroups, the hidden
beliefs, the forbidden agendas, the ideological agreements, the
‘stars’ of the show."
He developed sociometry within the new sciences, although its ultimate
purpose is transcendence and not science. 'By making choices based on
criteria, overt and energetic, Moreno hoped that individuals would be
more spontaneous, and organisations and groups structures would become
fresh, clear and lively.'
One of Moreno's innovations in sociometry was the development of the
sociogram, a systematic method for graphically representing
individuals as points/nodes and the relationships between them as
lines/arcs. Moreno, who wrote extensively of his thinking,
applications and findings, also founded a journal entitled Sociometry.
Within sociology, sociometry has two main branches: research
sociometry, and applied sociometry. Research sociometry is action
research with groups exploring the socio-emotional networks of
relationships using specified criteria e.g. Who in this group do you
want to sit beside you at work? Who in the group do you go to for
advice on a work problem? Who in the group do you see providing
satisfying leadership in the pending project? Sometimes called network
explorations, research sociometry is concerned with relational
patterns in small (individual and small group) and larger populations,
such as organizations and neighborhoods. Applied sociometrists utilize
a range of methods to assist people and groups review, expand and
develop their existing psycho-social networks of relationships. Both
fields of sociometry exist to produce through their application,
greater spontaneity and creativity of both individuals and groups.
Moreno's criteria for sociometric tests
In Sociometry, Experimental Method and the Science of Society: An
Approach to a New Political Orientation (1951), Moreno describes the
depth to which a group needs to go for the method to be "sociometric".
The term for him had a qualitative meaning and did not apply unless
some group process criteria were met. One of these is that there is
acknowledgment of the difference between process dynamics and the
manifest content. To quote Moreno: "there is a deep discrepancy
between the official and the secret behavior of members".:39 Moreno
advocates that before any "social program" can be proposed, the
sociometrist has to "take into account the actual constitution of the
Other criteria include the rule of adequate motivation: "Every
participant should feel about the experiment that it is in his (or
her) own cause ... that it is an opportunity for him (or her) to
become an active agent in matters concerning his (or her) life
situation." and the Rule of "gradual" inclusion of all extraneous
Given that sociometry is concerned with group allegiances and
cleavages, it is not surprising that sociometric methods have been
used to study ethnic relationships and way individuals identify with
ethnic groups. For instance, using sociometric research, Joan
Criswell investigated white-black relationships in US classrooms,
Gabriel Weimann researched ethnic relationships in Israel, and
James Page has investigated intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic
identification within the Pacific.
Other approaches and software
Other approaches were developed in last decades, such as social
network analysis, or sociomapping. Freeware as well as commercial
software was developed for analysis of groups and their structure,
such as Gephi, Pajek, Keyhubs or InFlow. All these approaches share
much of their basic principles with Sociometry.
Facebook is a social
network service and website which is largely based on the sociometry
of its users.
^ Moreno (1934), Who Shall Survive?
^ a b c Moreno, Jacob Levy (1951). Sociometry, Experimental Method and
the Science of Society: An Approach to a New Political Orientation.
^ Jennings, H.H. 1987.
Sociometry in Group Relations. 2nd ed.
^ Criswell, J. 1937. Racial Cleavages in Negro-White Groups.
Sociometry. 1(1): 87-89; and 1939 A Sociometric Study of Racial
Cleavages in the Classroom Psychology Archives Series, #235. New York:
Columbia University Press.
^ Weimann, G. 1983. The Not-So-Small World: Ethnicity and Acquaintance
Networks in Israel. Social Networks. 5(3): 289-302.
^ Page, J. 1988/9. Education and Acculturation on Malaita: An
Ethnography of Intra-ethnic and Inter-ethnic Affinities. Journal of
Intercultural Studies. 15/16:74-81. Online:
Sometics, a commercial software used to create sociograms.
cliq, a web tool for creating, implementing, evaluating and managing