Guide to Drawing a Sociogram

Guide to Drawing a Sociogram

In order to draw a sociogram, eSzocMet provides the framework for the sociogram, which the user only needs to finalise by a five to ten minute rearrangement. The initial graph is drawn by eSzocMet from the mutual sympathy responses along a circle or a square.

The dots represent people (with initials next to them), the blue ones are boys, the red ones are girls, while the thickness of the lines between them indicates the strength of the relationship. However, in many cases the diagram is not clear enough to allow a good analysis and to show the different characteristics of the group, so it needs to be rearranged. To rearrange the points, click on them with the left mouse button and drag them to the desired position.

First of all, it is a good idea to put unconnected people (if there are any) to the edge of the figure so that they don’t disturb us during drawing. 

Once this is done, try to find shapes that are unconnected to others. Often there are completely separate pairs, triangles, or even quadrates in a class. Once you have found these, put them on the edge of the picture temporarily.

The central block or blocks should be drawn in such a way as to eliminate intersections (i.e. you want to ensure that the line representing one relationship does not cross the other). It is worth starting with the person who has the most connections. Pull him or her to the middle and pull his/her connections close to him/her. After that, we progress through his contacts until we are done with everyone. It is advisable to use angles of 45, 90, 120 and 180 degrees where possible so that the shapes are clearly visible. Try to avoid arbitrary shapes, for example if you have three people connected to each other and no one else, then represent this as an isosceles triangle, with equal distance between people within the shape and if possible between shapes. Of course, this is not always possible; in case of classes with a complex structure, it may not be possible to find a solution without an intersection, because, for example, two people are connected who are otherwise on the far edges of the picture. These relationships of course should be included in the sociogram, nevertheless, it may be worth addressing them separately in the interpretation. 

Use the shapes given by Mérei (solitary, pair, triangle, square (or polygon), star, chain) as much as possible and to be able to get the proprtions of the various shapes.

Now put the sole and separate shapes in their place. If possible, place the members who have no relationships next to the people they most often nominated, so that it is visible where the child wants to belong. Similarly, if someone wants to be related to a shape or a member of the shape has outward relationships with someone who does not reciprocate, move the shape closer to that person.

Once the sociogram is ready, we can read one of the important structural indices, the central-marginal index:

To calculate the C-M indicator, we need to look at the percentage of children who are in the closed shape (or shapes) at the centre, the percentage who are directly connected to it and the percentage who are not directly connected, i.e. are at the margin of the figure. The average of the three numbers is 20-50-30.

When you are ready do not forget to save your work to your computer as refreshing the page will reset the sociogram into the original round shape.

Source: Ferenc Mérei (2006): Hidden Network of Communities.