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The Administrative Committee on Ultimate Consumer Goods of the American Society for Testing Materials has found that before meaningful tests can be devised for such goods, it is necessary to have a clear picture of what consumers want. It has been suggested that the way to find out is to interview a number of people. That this process is not as simple as we might expect is indicated time and again in this symposium. Interviews even when based on specific questions do not always provide correct answers. Sometimes, answers have been not only wrong but misleading. Since most of the evidence on this point has been obtained by people working in the Social Sciences, we have asked them to tell us why. What they have found out that might be of interest to us is considered in the second part of this symposium. We engineers should profit by their experience. In contrast, the first part of the symposium presents problems with which the engineer is more familiar. They represent cases where product tests have been or are being developed. The consumer involved happens to be a soldier. Otherwise, the problems are similar to some that are even now being considered by ASTM committees.
Olmstead, Paul S.
Statistical Consultant, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., Murray Hill, N. J.