Sociometry – the beneficial method or …?

All, perhaps, heard about this technique. It is not just a tool of the psychologist, sociometry should be possessed by all teachers, because such simple, popular technique will help to build the relationships with pupils.

Everything by stage

In order you were not misinformed with various statements on the forums and notes of unknown origin, you should grasp the essence of this technique and to understand its purpose by yourself. Sociometry, developed by J. Moreno, was used for diagnosis of intergroup and interpersonal relations. This diagnosis is for further reorganization and improvement of relationships. This technique helps to study the typology of people’s behavior in a group activity; it contributes to the study of social and psychological compatibility of members of certain groups.

The most common objectives of this technique are:

–  Determining the degree of cohesion / fragmentation in the group;

–  Identification of so-called “sociometric position” that means correlative authority of the group’s members. The main features are: sympathy / antipathy, extreme poles are occupied by “leader” and “rejected”;

–  Finding intra subsystems that informal leaders can manage.

Pros of techniques

The main advantage of sociometry is that it requires no special time-consuming. The procedure itself is performed for about 15 minutes, processing and interpretation of the results, of course, is a little longer, but it is clear and feasible for everyone. Sociometry can identify informal leaders, using this knowledge, you can redirect the relations in the team towards constructive and comfort for all.

Easy to use and opened field of activity after completion of the procedure make this method attractive. But it is worth noting that sociometry doesn’t solve deep misunderstandings in the group, because they are based not just on dislike, but on more serious problems.

What is the procedure itself?

The procedure for the technique is simple, but requires consistency and fidelity to regulations.

  1. Initially, the experimenter sets specific objectives of the study and selects the object of measurement.
  2. Next, the experimenter formulates basic hypotheses and provisions related to the criteria of the members’ groups’ inquiry.
  3. Sociometry cannot take place in conditions of complete anonymity! This will not lead to the desired result. So experimenter correctly explains to members of the group why they should in this case write about their likes / dislikes, that it pursues positive goals and will help them. Adequate positive attitude of the experimenter will allow avoiding the reluctance of some members of the group to participate in the procedure. Naturally, the experimenter guarantees strictly confidential results.
  4. Thus, the experimenter picked up the questions that are the evaluation criteria of relationships in a group; he puts them in a card and asks members of groups like during the interview.
  5. By agreeing to participate in the procedure, the testees must comply with its conditions. They have to answer the questions, choosing certain members of the group about their preference to others (sympathy / antipathy, trust / distrust).
  6. To the validity of research results experimenter can hold technique twice, changing the questions.

Nonparametric procedure

This is the kind of sociometry, which suggests testee’s answers to the questions from the test card without limiting the number of testee’s selections. This means that if in a group, for example, ten people are calculated, each respondent could select nine persons (excluding him/her-self). This procedure makes it possible to cut the variety of interpersonal relationships in the group, helps to identify the emotional exuberance of each group member. The disadvantage is that if the number of group members is from twelve to sixteen people, there are too many relationships; this requires extra help of computing. In addition, there is a high probability of a random choice. The testee can write in the questionnaire: “Choose all”. In this case, the testee is likely to give misleading answer, expressing his formal loyalty both to the members of the group and the experimenter.

Parametric technique reduces such testees’ opportunities and simplifies the system processing of results.

Who can be the testee?

Any group of persons, starting from pre-school children (in this case, of course, the written responses to the questions are excluded), can be the subject of research. The questions are made correlatively to the group’s peculiarities. It is good when sociometry is held not by the new to the group person. That is, for example, the class teacher knows his team, sees some problems, but wants to make sure his guess and find answers to questions.

Of course, the questions of ready technique samples should not be copied. Try to think about the questions, the most overlapping with the situation in the team. Available questions may not apply in your case. We couldn’t ask students of the fifth grade: “With whom of your classmates will you go to a business trip?” This is, of course, exaggerated, but you need to give simple questions.

Thus, you have found that your team has the informal leader, have you? How does he/she impact on the team? Who are close to social exclusion? By answering these questions, you can see a new picture of the group. Some results may surprise you. Calmly analyze the situation and make a plan that you will assist members of the group to build new constructive relationships.

Successful research!

Filed under Homework Help.
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