- A term coined by J. L. Moreno in 1934 in Who Shall Survive?and originally developed as part of a sociodrama approach to interpreting social structure . Sociometry systematizes information from individuals in a group , concerning who prefers to associate with whom (or often the behavioural parallel of who associates with whom), in terms of a specified basis or for a given purpose. An early use by Moreno was to reallocate dormitory sleeping-arrangements to minimize conflict among reform-school inhabitants. Initial use thus tied the sociometric test (for example naming friends) to it having direct consequences, though this is now less common. The number of sociometric choices allowed may be either fixed (‘name three best friends’) or not (‘give as many names as you wish’); may be ordered; or may express the strength of the link. Originally, analysis of sociometric data centred on the number of choices received and given and the resulting point properties, such as stars and isolates receiving very many and no choices respectively. The information is drawn as points and lines on a single diagram called the sociogram, where individuals receiving most choices are located at the centre, and isolates at the periphery. Sociometry is widely used in education and other small-group contexts for understanding clique-structure, and has its own journal, Sociometry. In other contexts it has been subsumed by social network analysis.
Dictionary of sociology. 2013.