Report of working group


The starting point for our discussion was the recognition that social change is proceeding faster than at any time in human history. Politicians, administrators, and those involved in the political process are therefore like managers of industrial and commercial establishments in this respect: their 'microcosm' of the world around them, being dependent on previous experience and earlier learning, risks loss of touch with the real world. The role of social researchers is to help those involved in the political process to improve the correspondence between the microcosm and reality. Social research can perform this role in two ways. The first, which is the approach mainly adopted in the papers of this seminar, is the description and analysis of social attitudes and behaviour, over time. The second, which received little attention, is the evaluation of public policy, of the actions of government, extending possibly to the evaluation of social experiments. The second role is perhaps more closely.

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