University of Michigan. Detroit Area Study

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Annual Detroit Metropolitan Area social survey conducted 1951-2004, largely as a graduate training program at the University of Michigan. Research focus changed each year, common topics were life in an urban environment, politics, family, and race relations. Affiliated with the Department of Sociology and Survey Research Center, part of Institute for Social Research.

From the description of Detroit Area Study (University of Michigan) records, 1951-2004. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 85778811

The Detroit Area Study (DAS) project began in 1951. Initial funding came from the Ford Foundation, and continued, at least in part, until 1958. Afterward, the program was supported by the University of Michigan Department of Sociology. The program worked closely with the Survey Research Center, part of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

The program was designed with three main goals: to facilitate faculty research, to provide students with practical training in survey methods, and to collect data which would be useful to the citizens of Detroit. The survey collected basic social science data, to allow for the study of trends over time, and data on specific research problems designed by the faculty of the university. The program was interdisciplinary, and included students from the departments of psychology, political science, economics, and the School of Social Work.

The DAS Executive Committee, composed of University of Michigan faculty, was responsible for choosing the topic for each year's study from faculty proposals. The member of the faculty whose proposal was accepted became the project director for that year, and was given five years of exclusive access to the data before it was made publicly available. Students enrolled in three courses: an introductory course on the survey topic in the fall, a course involved with designing and conducting the survey in the winter, and a course on analysis using the collected data the following fall. A typical study involved 300-500 interviews, 40-80% of which were conducted by the students. DAS project directors often obtained grant funding to increase the number of interviews in the sample. DAS served as a model for the development of similar programs at other universities, both nationally and internationally.

During the course of its existence, DAS had to frequently justify the expense of the program. In 1994, the DAS formed a partnership between the Department of Sociology, the Survey Research Center, and the College of LS&A to strengthen the program. The program was formally evaluated by the Department of Sociology in 1999-2000. The program was discontinued in Winter 2005, after the completion of the 2004 study.

  • 1951 - 1953 : Ronald Freedman
  • 1954: Morris Axelrod
  • 1955 - 1961 : Harry Sharp
  • 1962 - 1965 : John C. Scott
  • 1966 - 1969 : Howard Schuman
  • 1970: John C. Scott
  • 1971: Howard Schuman
  • 1972 - 1973 : Bettye Eidson
  • 1974 - 1975 : Elwood Beck
  • 1976: Howard Schuman
  • 1976 - 1977 : Robert M. Groves
  • 1978 - 1980 : David Goldberg
  • 1981: Nancy Grassmick (Gebler)
  • 1982: Peter V. Miller
  • 1983 - 1985 : Stanley Presser
  • 1986 - 1988 : Jean M. Converse
  • 1989: Jacqueline Scott
  • 1990: Karl Landis
  • 1991 - 1996 : Charlotte Steeh
  • 1997 - 1999 : Willard Rodgers
  • 2000 - 2004 : Mick P. Couper

From the guide to the Detroit Area Study (University of Michigan) records, 1951-2004, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Freedman, Ronald, 1917-2007. Ronald Freedman papers, 1961-2000. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf University of Michigan. Detroit Area Study. Detroit Area Study (University of Michigan) records, 1951-2004. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Detroit Area Study (University of Michigan) records, 1951-2004 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Ronald Freedman papers, 1961-2000 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Detroit (Mich.)
Detroit (Mich.)
Family life surveys
Social surveys
Public opinion
Family life surveys--Michigan--Detroit
Public opinion--Michigan--Detroit

Corporate Body

Active 1951

Active 2004



Ark ID: w61p6bf8

SNAC ID: 61649399