Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Kathleen Kalab, Kirk Dansereau, Fuad Baali

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


A set of categories for the analysis of definitions of social group and a set of categories developed by the author were compared to determine which set had the greater parsimony and utility. The sets of categories were compared in order to specify the areas of agreement and disagreement. The sets of categories were applied to a sample of early European and American sociologists' conceptions of social group and a sample of 22 introductory sociology text definitions. Smh's inclusion of non-human individuals, one-way communication, and noncontemporaneous group members in his set of categories was unsupported by the samples of definitions. The combination of Smith's categories, "shared goal dispositions" and 'norms regarding means," into the author's category, "shared goal dispositions," and Smith's categories, "role differentiation" and "intergroup relations and group representative roles," into the author's category, "role differentiation," received some support from the samples of definitions. Smith's categories, "mutual need satisfaction," "face-to-face interaction," and "socioemotional relations among group members" were not cited in any of the samples. The author's category, "social structure," received some support from the samples of definitions.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

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Sociology Commons