James A. Davis
1997 Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences
Those of us who deal in data tend a vast commons; the data in that commons are public goods available to the community at large. They represent a great capital resource for research into deep scholarly hypotheses, they are necessary to answer questions of pressing policy importance, and they are available for the simple satisfaction of curiosity. James A. Davis, architect of the General Social Survey, was a signal contributor to that great commons. The General Social Survey was a repeated crosssectional survey of the American public that had been conducted for the last quarter century. The survey repeats standard questions on issues of major interest to the social science community. Jim Davis's innovation of this methodology and his persistence in seeing that new rounds of the survey are conducted in a timely fashion has revolutionized the study of social change.