Published: Jan 1952
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Although I believe you invited me here as a silent partner in this symposium, I am very happy to say a word or two at the end of the meeting to indicate to you that even though I have been a silent partner, I have not been a sleeping partner during these discussions this afternoon and this evening. I found the papers not only very interesting, because of their own intrinsic content, but, likewise, the proceedings, as a whole, because they symbolize a convergence of interests and a bringing together of two lines of activity that I think are important, and will become increasingly so as we look ahead. Thinking back to the creation of the Joint Committee on Measurement of Opinion, Attitudes and Consumer Wants by the National Research Council and the Social Science Research Council over five years ago, I recall that the purpose was to appoint as members men from industry, government and polling agencies, and from the universities, all of whom shared a common interest. I believe this committee provided the first real opportunity for such a group to discuss thoughtfully together research problems of common concern with respect to the measurement of opinion, attitudes and consumer wants. The papers we have heard today are evidence of the leadership of this committee. I am sure that the audience will agree that there is a necessity for attention to the theoretical and technical research aspects of the field if good applied work is to be done. Such matters can not be expected to attract the interest of the general public and may be c limited interest to some practitioners But such attention is essential for the development of the field. Good applied work must be based upon a sound foundation, of theory. In this sense it is a practical necessity to be mindful of theory. The papers that we have heard indicate the kind of penetrating questions and the concern with self-analysis that are necessary for advance in any field. You have had good reports of the progress of the thinking that has gone forward at this level of theory and methodology.
President, Social Science Research Council, New York, N.Y.