SOCIALOGY OF EDUCATION: MODULE 4: SOCIOMETRY AND SOCIOMETRIC MEASURES IN EDUCATION



MODULE 4: SOCIOMETRY AND SOCIOMETRIC MEASURES IN EDUCATION
4.1 Concepts
Sociometry
 The term sociometry was derived from two Latin words: socius – which means social and metrum which means measure.
 Therefore, the roots imply that sociometry is a way of measuring the degree of relatedness among people.
 Measurement of relatedness helps in the assessment of behaviour within groups, and in interventions to bring about positive changes and for determining the extent of social change.
 Within a group, sociometry can be used to reduce conflict and improve communication.
 It is a powerful tool for assessing dynamics and development in a group.
 The term sociometry was coined by Jacob Levy Moreno – a psychotherapist in his studies of the relationship between social structure and psychological well being.
 He conducted the first long range sociometric study from 1932 – 1938 at New York State Training School for girls in Hudson, New York.
 As part of his study, Moreno used sociometric techniques to assign residents to various residential cottages. He found that assignment on the basis of sociometry substantially reduced the number of run aways from the facility.
 Moreno himself defined sociometry as a mathematical study of psychological properties of population, the experimental technique, and the result obtained by the application of quantitative methods (Moreno, 1956:15 – 16).
2


Sociometry consists of a number of techniques for measuring emotional distance and for determining the pupils’ position within the social structure of the classroom setting.
 Criswel in Moreno 1960:140 defined sociometry as a method for tracking the energy vectors of interpersonal relationships in a group.
 It shows the patterns on how individuals associate with each other when acting as a group towards a specific and/or goal.
 Generally, sociometry is based on the fact that people make choices in interpersonal relationships. Whenever people gather, they make choices of, for example, where to sit or stand, with whom to stand or sit, who is central to the group (the star), who is rejected (rejectee) and who is isolated (the isolate). However, these criteria are merely spontaneous and true to the self and of the chooser.

4.2 WHY SOCIOMETRIC ANALYSIS IN A CLASSROOM SETTING?
 It is used in examining and analysing the choices and rejections made by each member in respect to other members in a group.
 Sociometric analysis is valuable for illuminating the complexities of classroom behaviour and group dynamics.
 It is an ideal for classroom action research. The action research is helpful in providing data for practical problems of pupils’ behaviours like making noise in the classroom.
 It helps to identify pupils who are rejected, isolated or at risk.
 It can be used for curriculum development or for specifying curricular activities.
 With sociometry, teachers can design modes of grouping students. It is a means by which the teacher can determine the relationships of individual students to other students within the class.
 It allows the teacher to track the roles which students play in relation to others within a classroom.
3


It allows a teacher to develop a greater understanding of group behaviour within the class so that he/she may operate more wisely in group management and curriculum development.
 It helps to examine the students’ propinquity/physical proximity. Children living in neighbourhood tend to sit, work and play together. Friends tend to be chosen on the basis of close location/proximity even in adults.
 It helps to examine the common play interests – similar interests tend to unite children or can be used as a basis for friendship formulation among children.
 It can be used by a teacher when he/she is planning for seating arrangements and work group composition.
 It helps to examine social nearness among pupils. Children from the same social class or ethnic group tend to form friendship.
 It permits the identification of the cooperative elements within the class thus providing an opportunity to integrate isolated children with cooperative groups.

4.3 FUNCTIONS OF SOCIOMETRIC MEASURES IN EDUCATION
Sociometric measures in education perform three functions: diagnostic function, predictive function and corrective/remedial functions.
4.4 SOCIOMETRIC CRITERIA
 Sociometric criteria refer to standards or basis of making decions or choices related to relationships.
 Choices are always made on the certain basis or criterion.
 The criterion may be subjective such as intuitive feelings of liking or disliking a person on first impression.
 The criterion may be more objective and conscious such as knowing that a person does or does not have skills needed for the group task.
4


When members of a group are asked to choose others in the group basing on specific criteria, every one in the group can make choices and describe why the choices were made. From these choices, a description is emerges out of networks inside the group. A drawing like a map of those choices is called a sociogram. The data for the sociogram may also be displayed as a table or matrix of each person’s choices. Such a table is called sociomatrix.

4.5 CRITERION SELECTION
 The selection of the appropriate criterion makes or breaks the sociometric intervention.
 As in all data collection in the social sciences, the answers you get depend on the questions you ask.
 Any question will elicit information, but unless the right question is asked, the answers may be confusing, distracting, or irrelevant to the intervention’s objective.
 A good criterion should present a meaningful choice to the person in as simple a format as possible. For example, who would you mostly like to have as part of this work team (e.g doing group assignment)?
 The criterion must be most effective to isolate the material of interest. In responding to the question, each person will choose based on an individual interpretation of the criterion. These interpretations or sub criteria, for this particular question, could include among others ‘do I want a person who works hard? Who is a power broker? And who is sociable? A clear statement of the criterion will tend to reduce the number of interpretations and will, therefore, increase the reliability of the data.

4.6 PRINCIPLES OF SOCIOMETRIC ANALYSIS
 The criterion should be simple and straight forward.
 The respondents should have some actual experience in reference to the criterion.
 The criterion should be specific rather than general or vague – vaguely defined criterion evokes vague responses.
5


Under no circumstance, the criterion should be actual rather than hypothetical.
 A criterion should have a potential of being acted upon. For example, a question for college freshmen like ‘who would you like to be your roommate? has more potential of being acted upon than the question ‘whom do you trust?
 The ideal criterion is the one that helps further life goal of the subject (Moreno, 1956).

5.7 RESEARCH WITH SOCIOMETRIC TOOLS OF ANALYSIS
In analysing sociometric data, we use sociomatrix and sociogram.
a) Sociomatrix
 Sociomatrix is a tabular representation in matrix form of data collected using sociometric method to measure interpersonal relationships. Suppose we want to know who the most preferred person to be a class monitor in a class of ten students is. Let us use the following criterion: ‘I like this person to be my class monitor’. We will use  to indicate ‘most like’, + to indicate ‘moderate like’, * to indicate ‘like’, and to indicate ‘dislike’.
 Next, we interview each class member individually. Let us assume that the class members’ names are Rutashobya, Kimario, Mwandelile, Masanja, Shija, Ashura, Mondesta, Aisha, Sanga, and Lyongo.
 When we have established a rapport and explained that all responses will be kept confidential, we ask the person we are interviewing to rate every other person in the group based on the criterion, I this case, ‘who would you like to be your class monitor?’
 After conducting all the interviews and obtaining the ratings from every one, the next step is to chart all the responses in a sociomatrix as follows:
6

A Sociomatrix Representing the Responses Rutashobya
Kimario
Mwandelile
Masanja
Shija
Ashura
Mondesta
Aisha
Sanga
Lyongo
Rutashobya
+
+
-
-
-
*
+
Kimario
*
+
*
*
+
+
+
Mwandelile
-
+
-
-
*
-
+
+
Masanja
-
-
+
-
-
+
-
Shija
-
*
*
+
+
+
-
Ashura
-
-
*
+
-
-
*
+
Mondesta
-
+
+
*
*
-
Aisha
-
*
+
-
-
-
-
+
Sanga
*
-
-
+
*
-
-
Lyongo
-
+
+
-
*
-


No comments

Powered by Blogger.