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Sociometry is a qualitative method for measuring social relationships. It was originally developed by psychotherapist Jacob L. Moreno in his studies of the relationship between social structures and psychological well-being.
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 agenda’s, 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.
Trained in psychodramatic methods, integrating thinking, feeling and action aspects of behavior, sociometrists practice in the fields of psychology, counseling, executive leadership, community and organization development.
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.
Sociometry studies of childrenEdit
- Main article: Sociometry studies of children
Use of sociometry in educationEdit
- Main article: Sociometry in educational settings
Sociometry in clinical settingsEdit
- Main article: Sociometry in clinical settings
Sociometry in work settingsEdit
- Main article: Sociometry in the workplace
Other approaches and softwareEdit
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 Pajek or InFlow. All these approaches share lot of their basic principles with Sociometry.
Moreno's Criteria for a Sociometric approach are not easily adhered to using software methods that are divorced from group work.
Sociometry software, GraphPlot, can be retrieved at this site. GraphPlot is a spreadsheet and a drawing tool for sociometric data that has been designed to handle unlimited numbers of individuals and objects.
Additional Sociometric History & Software can be found Sociometry
- Collective behavior
- Group dynamics
- Jacob L. Moreno
- Organizational behavior
- Peer relations
- Social interaction
- Social network analysis
- Social status
- Sociometric tests
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- Woods, P., Reed, V., & Collins, M. (2003). Exploring core relationships between insight and communication and social skills in mentally disordered offenders: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Vol 10(5) Oct 2003, 518-525.
- Xin, Z., Chi, L., & Liu, B. (2004). The Differences of Social Anxiety of Adolescents with Different Sociometric Status: Chinese Mental Health Journal Vol 18(4) Apr 2004, 231-232.
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- Anthony, D. B. (2008). Social acceptance and self-esteem: Tuning the sociometer to interpersonal value. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
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For more information concerning recent developments in the field of sociometry consult the International Sociometry Training Network (Ann E. Hale) at Sociometry.net
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