Hampton Beach Project -- The Riots of 1964 -- Research as a Phase of a Demonstration Project

The Riots of 1964 -- Chapter 3

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

Research as a Phase of a Demonstration Project

Ideally, research results could have contributed to the construction of program. Had there been enough time, had there been enough staff and money, had there been previous work on the subject, research could have played a more dominant role in the conducting of the Hampton Beach Project. However, under the limitations of time and money, and with the hope that a viable kind of program could be out into operation, it was given to research to study what effects the demonstration program would have on the community of Hampton Beach. This goal was stated by Mr. Rosenthal on July 4th at a Staff Meeting as follows:

. . . so far as the coordination of research and action, as the dual foci of the program are concerned, the thought in Washington is the following: This is fundamentally a demonstration program which is to be research, instead of a research program to be demonstrated. Above all this is a pilot program; what emerges from this program will provide the foundation of future action and research schedules throughout the nation . . . Action directed towards eliminating a riot.

It might be said that the fundamental concepts of the action program came from the same matrix of social science as did the research efforts. What was being attempted here on the action level was a rather major kind of social change. If research could capture the essence of what was taking place during that change a major contribution might be made. Moreover, if research could establish what the dynamics of the situation were if non-social change took place, that, too, might be a real contribution. The fact of the matter is, very few studies have been done of the kind of major social change that was being attempted on Hampton Beach in 1965.

As we shall see in a subsequent section, there was a continual problem in finding enough staff time for both research and action programs. The fact that both were done is a splendid tribute to the vitality of the youngsters who were employed as staff.

One other note might be made. The Hampton Beach Project, apparently, was "sold" in the eyes of the Chamber of Commerce officials as a Research Project. Although it was made abundantly clear what was going to be studied, the relationship between action and research was never very clear in the eyes of the Chamber of Commerce.