Sociometric Technique

Published on 01/08/2023

The history of sociometric techniques dates back to the early 1930s.

Moreno, in his book Who Shall Survive? (1934) explained how he used the sociogram technique to enhance group cohesiveness during one of his sociometry studies.

With that, he laid the foundation upon which modern sociometric techniques emerged with time.

There are several social analysis methods to analyze and improve human interactions. They differ in application, but their underlying goal is the same.

All sociometric techniques seek to identify and describe the interpersonal patterns that create various social group structures.

What Do We Mean by Sociometric Techniques?

When we say sociometric techniques, we mean the various processes that measure several features of social relationships. These processes are often qualitative or quantitative.

They provide proven or scientific ways to understand different aspects of individuals’ interpersonal relationships within a group.

method of sociometric techniques

Some of the most common characteristics of social relationships measured using different sociometric methods include:

  • Popularity
  • Social status or position in the group
  • Peer acceptance or rejection

Most, if not all, of the techniques rely on two dimensions of interpersonal relationships – attraction and repulsion.

This means that an individual’s popularity or unpopularity within a group depends on whether other group members are attracted to or repelled by them.

The same is true for a person’s social status in a group, often called sociometric status, peer acceptance, or rejection.

If other group members feel attracted to you, they will like you and want to be friends. But if they experience repulsion, they might dislike you and reject you.

These patterns become evident when you apply different sociometric techniques to various social situations.

Types of Sociometric Techniques

There are several sociometric techniques methods. Some common ones include:


A sociogram is a visual representation of the interpersonal relationships and lines of communication among individuals in a group.

The diagram uncovers the invisible dynamics that often exist behind the official social relationships of individuals in a group.

methods of sociometric techniques

Specifically, the technique uses a sociogram test to record participants’ social choices and reveal the nature of their social interactions.

Visit this page on sociogram examples to learn more about this method and see representations of how they work.

Sociometric Matrix

A sociometric matrix is the tabulation of numbers that indicate various choices made by different group members.

The numbers reveal the frequency or number of times an individual gets chosen by other group members and the nature of how they are selected.

A member may get chosen several times but in a negative way. Or, they get chosen many times positively, and so on.

The social matrix is usually a good indicator of popularity in a social setting.

Peer Rating

In this method, participants, such as students, answer sociometric questions based on a rating scale

They rate their classmates on various criteria, for example, who they would like to play or study with. Some students might rate highly as study partners but low as playmates. Other students may get low ratings on all criteria

Often, peer ratings follow students’ liking or disliking preferences. They reveal a broad picture of a student’s social position or sociometric status within the group.

sociometric techniques method

Specifically, they indicate

  • Whether an individual is liked or disliked by other group members or not
  • How much they are liked or disliked

Guess Who Technique

The guess-who technique requires participants to read a descriptive statement or list of characteristics. From there, they identify individuals within the group who fit the written description best.

In this method, participants suggest names and can include more than one name against each statement.

Social Distance Scale

The social distance scale is a psychological or attitude testing scale.

It measures the attitudes of individuals toward members of different nationalities, races, social, religious, or ethnic groups.

The technique seeks to reveal the levels of closeness an individual feels towards members of these groups. This can be variable degrees of warmth, indifference, hostility, or intimacy.

The social distance scale uses psychological statements that indicate varying levels of rejection or acceptance of the group members.

In most cases, the participant responds to 7 questions (rated 1 to 7). They represent socio-demographic conditions like intermarriage, social interaction, workforce, and community integration.

For instance, to study the attitude of an individual toward circus dancers, the questions asked may seek to understand the individual’s:

  • willingness to marry a member of the circus group (1)
  • openness to being close friends with a member of the group (2)
  • acceptance of having one of the group members as a neighbor (3)
  • willingness to work with one of the group members (4)
  • willingness to accept one of the group members as a citizen of their country (5)
  • openness to including one of the group members as a non-citizen visitor of their country (6)
  • whether they would wish to exclude the circus group members from visiting their country. (7)
sociometric techniques methods

The participant's responses show their feelings toward the group in question and its members. This data can help reduce prejudice among individuals.

Also, you can always modify the questions to fit your specific situation.

We’d highly recommend using our Sociometric questionnaire in this example, to make this process even easier.

Sociometric Ranking Procedure

This ranking procedure provides insight into peer social relations or a child’s social status through data provided by a third party, often an adult.


The communingram method helps to determine an individual’s communication skills within a group based on how much they speak.

Use of Sociometric Techniques

Sociometric techniques are helpful for several reasons. Some include:

  • Evaluating peer relationships to increase social acceptance
  • Monitoring the social development of children
  • Understanding group dynamics to promote teamwork
  • Collecting data for social research purposes
  • Carrying out customer research to develop marketing strategies for companies
  • Understanding your child’s social skills among peers of friends
  • Identifying the social and emotional connections of students to promote learning

We have outlined more uses of sociometric techniques in a school setting on this page about sociograms in the classroom. Read it to learn more about creating a conducive learning environment for students.

sociometric technique


Sociometric methods are advantageous because:

  • They are an economical and cost-effective way of promoting individuals’ psychosocial well-being.
  • Some, like social matrices, can be combined and compared. Meaning you can analyze data from different groups easily.
  • They present complex data on human interactions visually using simple charts that are easy to interpret.
  • They can measure different aspects of social interactions at the same time.
  • Some techniques, for example, sociograms, reveal the nature of various social connections, whether positive or negative. In turn, this makes it easy to improve such interactions.


The disadvantages of sociometric methods include:

  • Some methods, like sociometric matrices, provide limited information compared to others, such as sociograms.
  • Certain techniques are not suitable for studying large social groups.
  • Several people can draw different charts using the same data, which may be confusing.
  • They do not always provide the underlying reasons for social acceptance or rejection and are open to misinterpretation.

Try our free demo to create a sociogram for your class, group, or team. Sometics allows you to create visual representations of group relations and social connections to understand individual dynamics, as well as browse numerous types of Sociogram Templates.