As the name itself is suggestive, this is a technique which has a, for its unit of analysis, a group rather than an individual. The purpose behind sociometry is to measure the choice, communication and the interpersonal relations of the people in different groups. The analysis made on the basis of this data collected gives a fair idea about the choice, preferences, attractions and avoidances of the people of a specific group. The questions that could be put to the group respondents in case of a sociometric analysis would be:
- Within the given group whom would you like to work and interact socially with?
- Within the given group, whom would you like to have as your neighbours on either side of your home?
- The reverse kind of question could be, within the group whom would you not like to interact with socially?
The data that is obtained from this kind of sociometric analysis is subject to quantitative analysis. Sociometric matrix offers a lot of research possibilities. The interpretation of this sociometric analysis takes place at the larger level which is the macro level. This helps to add up the scores of each person and find out the individual popularity of each one. The micro analysis is done to assess a one way choice, a mutual choice and no choice. On the basis of these choices, directional graphs are made. They are prepared in the form of a sociogram. A one way arrow would depict a one way choice and a two way arrow would indicate a two choices or mutual choice. The analysis and the understanding is relatively easier in the case of a small group but as the group increases it becomes more and more complicated to decipher. After the matrix of the data has been drawn, the next thing is to draw out the indicated choices. These are called the sociometric indices. In this case where the social preferences and individual understanding of the individual is the focus of the study, it is possible to draw out two quantitative choices.
The sociometric analyses are very useful in organisations to assess the informal channels of communication. Another effective use is it helps to identify star and potential leaders in society or companies who are preferred by all.
This method does have a drawback that the findings of this kind of analysis do not have widespread applicability and are useful and relevant only for a small group of people. The depth of the study dilutes in the case of a larger population.