Hampton Beach Project -- The Riots of 1964 -- Preliminary Report of Research Findings

The Riots of 1964 -- Chapter 1

Research Director's Report
Manning Van Nostrand, Director of Research

Preliminary Report of Research Findings

An integral part of the Hampton Beach Project is to be found around the activity of research. Research played two roles in the Project. The first and major role of research was to establish with some precision what actually transpired over the course of the summer. Research asked such questions as: What were the attitudes and values of the young people on the Beach? Was the demonstration phase of the Project successful? Did attitudes in the community change in any significant degree? This report will present findings related to these and other significant questions.

Research, we discovered, was playing another role in addition to fact gathering. Research came to be seen as a potential intervention technique. Initially, we did not plan our research with this in mind. However, we may in this report give enough useful information so that in another project of this type such use might be made of research.

Generally, what this report intends is that the reader will obtain information relative to (1) the theoretical orientation of the Project, (2) the setting in which the research was carried out, (3) a kind of field report of the problems encountered by the staff as they did the research, and (4) the nature of the instruments used and the findings gained from each instrument. Finally, it is hoped that certain general findings might be delineated from the research as a whole.

It should be stated quite frankly at the outset that the research reported here is not completely valid and reliable according to the strict dictates of modern scientific methodology. The research designed was rather simple and straight-forward. The instruments to be used were used by relatively untrained, but bright college students. Their supervision was not rigid. This research could probably best be characterized as a kind of survey. As a survey, it obtains some usefulness in that there was a relatively intense kind of saturation of investigation in a specific situation. These limitations are not stated by way of apology, but rather to inform the reader of the kind of research with which he is dealing. As a result, the kinds of conclusions that will be drawn, at least in this preliminary report, will be of a general nature which attempts to paint the picture of what these instruments "saw" over a period of approximately three months.