Published: Jan 1952
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This symposium is an important step in a program initiated some six years ago when a Joint Committee on Measurement of Opinions, Attitudes and Consumer Wants was formed by the Social Science Research Council and the National Research Council—which brought into focus upon a problem of common interest the techniques being developed in the social and natural sciences. At about the same time, our Society, recognizing that it had been drawn into various spheres of the problem of ultimate consumer goods, had organized an Administrative Committee on this subject for the purpose of supervising the Society's activities in the field of consumer goods. Perhaps because no one else was in sight at the moment, I was asked to represent ASTM on the Joint Committee, and I think it is on that account that Mr. Olmstead, who chairmaned the group that organized this symposium, has suggested that I make these brief introductory remarks. The broad objective of the Joint Committee is to bring to bear on the problem of measurement of opinions, attitudes, and consumer wants the techniques that have been and are being developed in both the social and natural sciences, so that the Joint Committee might make an important contribution to the development of scientific knowledge in this field. Among the problems that are being considered and worked upon by the Joint Committee through the several subcommittees that have been appointed are those of sampling, of panel techniques, of validity, and in general of study design, including questionnaire construction and interviewer procedures. Clarification of some problems involved in some of the specific applications of research is also an objective of the committee, as for example in the measurement of consumer wants involving market research techniques in the development of standards for consumer goods. I must confess that at first I felt very strange in the Joint Committee since so many of the techniques that were being discussed were foreign to the engineering materials approaches with which I am familiar. However, as discussion progressed, and particularly as thoughts began to crystallize in our own Administrative Committee on Consumer Goods, one could begin to see how procedures in sampling, interview, and other methods of measurement could be developed into useful tools in working on some of the problems upon which ASTM might become engaged.
Warwick, C. L.
Executive Secretary (deceased), Am. Soc. Testing Mats., Philadelphia, Pa