FROM BRIGHT IDEAS TO SOCIAL RESEARCH: THE STUDIES OF THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION
DUKE UNIV DURHAM NC
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The study of crisis research can give information on two issues in the methodology of social science the decision to translate a research idea into actual practice, and the nature of the background of the research which preserves the ephemeral data of historical events. The study was done with the social scientists who conducted research on the assassination of President Kennedy and a matched control sample of other social scientists. The positions and interests of the critical and control groups differed little. In fact, a majority of the control group was interested in crisis research and even had thought about doing a study of the Kennedy assassination. Organizational pressures seemed little effective as a reason for doing research. Descriptions by the critical group of how they engaged in their study showed a strong connection to current research and a quick start of the actual research process. The principal factor which seems to account for the action taken by the critical group is the evaluation taken of the role of the scientist. The control group is less interested in personal prestige and more in communication. Further the critical group was more inclined to take risks. This showed itself in the attitude toward research techniques, toward basic research as a risk-taking enterprise and in gambling on financial support for their studies.
- Information Science
- Humanities and History