eSzocMet

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

What is sociometry?

Sociometry is a psychological method designed to assess the network and other characteristics of relations within a community. In Hungary this method is primarily associated with Ferenc Mérei.

What is eSzocMet?

The use of sociometric surveys is quite widespread in Hungary. The eSzocMet program is primarily designed to replace the time-consuming paper-based testing in schools and to help teachers and school psychologists - who wish to conduct such a survey - avoid the workload of the traditional evaluation.

What questions will children have to answer?

In the sociometric survey, questions essentially ask about relationships and important characters in the class (e.g. Who is your best friend in class? Who is best at organising in the class?).

There are several recommended built-in question sets in eSzocmet, however users can also enter their own questions or choose freely from a set of questions.

What responsibilities do eSzocMet developers have in testing?

Because the program is free and open access, we cannot be responsible for whether the data obtained will be used correctly, just as we could not be responsible if the tests were taken on a paper-and-pencil basis. Whether or not a certain professional can administer the questionnaire in a certain class is up to the teacher, the school psychologist, the students and the parents alike, eSzocMet only provides an instrument to do so.

Who are the researchers/developers who can use data?

The developers are Bence Basa, computer scientist, behavioural analyst and Tamás Hoffmann, psychologist. Several experts with PhD degrees and vast sociometric experience have helped us to create the programme. The aim of our research is to introduce new sociometric measures and to improve the Hungarian sociometric practice. 

What data exactly will researchers use?

The data which we use is essentially in aggregate form or demographic in nature, in line with the purpose of the research, thus it will not contain any personal information that respondents or parents should be concerned about in case of information getting public.

By the above, we mean measures that show the percentage of children who have contacts in a given class (e.g. if 22 out of 25 children have contacts in the class, the value will be 88%), or how many children are voted in a specific question by more than a given percentage of the class (e.g. 80% of the class voted a certain child to be the best in sports).

The program produces a separate statement of these, so the developers will not analyse the specific answers, though the data provided in the tests does not allow this anyway. The data requested does not even identify settlements, let alone schools or classes.

E.g.: If the administration is carried out in a 10th grade class in Székesfehérvár, the data used for the analysis will be similar to this:

87.5% of the students in a 10th grade class of a vocational school in a county town have a reciprocal relationship and 13% have some sort of a role. At the end of the analysis only the average of these will be used in the survey, e.g. among 10th grade classes in large city schools in rural Hungary, the average number of friendships per person is 1.34.

How is data stored in the system after completion?

The data stored in eSzocMet is completely anonymous and is handled in accordance with current data protection legislation, including the GDPR. Personal data is protected by a secret key, which is not stored in any form by the software. By typing this, the test administrator can see the data, but without the secret key, we, the developers, can only see the demographic data of the test and codes that represent the names of the children (e.g.:L165, F82), so we cannot identify the children. Since the secret key is not stored in the system, it protects personal data even in case of a possible hacking of the user account, thus data cannot be obtained by unauthorised intruders from the eSzocMet system by any method.

What do parents agree to when they decide that their child can take part in the survey?

Parents give their consent primarily to the person who conducts the survey (the teacher/school psychologist), who will be able to see some sensitive data, although less than in a traditional paper-and-pencil test. The eSzocMet will be his/her tool for conducting the test. In order for the test administrator to be able to interpret the data, it is essential - given the nature of sociometric testing - that the children answer the questions by giving their names.

What data will the test administrator see?

The administrator will see how many people voted for whom in specific questions. He/She will also be able to see who voted for whom on questions regarding friendships and between which students are reciprocal relationships (this is assumed to be between students who have mutually chosen each other on either of the sympathy questions).

Do children get feedback after the test?

Children are not given feedback on the results or only in general (good classroom climate/slightly cliquey groups). The data is used by the administrator to assess/improve the class community.