“The practice of ‘sociometry’ consists of the administration of a questionnaire in which the subject chooses five other people in rank order of their attractiveness as associates, either generally or in relation to some specific activity”.
It was later extended to cover negative choices. The results are plotted on paper in diagrammatic form hence the term “sociogram”—(Ref.: Duncan Mitchell in “Dictionary of Sociology”).
The technique of sociometry is a very simple one and is applicable for the study of small group structures, personality traits and social status. It gives an insight relating to the feelings people have for one another and provides various indexes or measures of interaction. Within its limitation it has been found to be very useful.
It can be particularly helpful in the assignment of personnel to work groups in such a way as to achieve a maximum of interpersonal harmony and a minimum of interpersonal friction.
Moreno’s original exposition of this technique is found in his book “Who Shall Survive” 1934, and in the journal he founded, called “Sociometry”. But Moreno himself does not appear to have used this technique much in small group experimental investigations.
His theoretical approach seems to be very vague and too general. In spite of that, good numbers of other people, engaged in research have made use of this approach (including Helen H. Jennings who used it in detailed studies of women in correctional institutions in America).
Sociometry aroused considerable interest because once it has been decided what is implied in interpersonal choices recorded in this manner it is possible to present the results quantitatively. This technique is, in a sense, a combination of ideal type analysis and statistics.
Though in the beginning psychologists were more attracted by this technique, in course of time, the sociologists also got enthused with it particularly to study the different dimensions of interpersonal relations. The technique is now found to be simple, reliable and more useful in the study of interpersonal relations.