An algorithm refers to any technique, procedure, or series of instructions for doing a task through a carefully determined series of stages or sequence of activities, such as long division, the hierarchical order of actions in a specific software program, or the steps of a process of manufacturing.
The algorithm is originally a term similar to the formula. Still, as a result of computers, it is today understood to refer to a step-by-step process for solving a problem that is often backed up by mathematical proof.
In sociology, the phrase is often used more loosely to describe the procedures required to create a new variable from a given collection of variables. Erik Olin Wright‘s technique for determining his social class variable by combining certain combinations of ownership & decision-making duties, believed to describe different class locations, is an excellent example.