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Detroit Area Study, 1956: Orientation on Moral Issues in a Metropolis and The Meaning of Work (ICPSR 7320)

Published: Jul 28, 2010

Principal Investigator(s):
Robert C. Angell; Robert Kahn; Robert Weiss


Version V1

This study of 797 adults in the Detroit metropolitan area provides information on their attitudes toward work and their motivations for working, as well as their orientation toward many social and political issues. The study was a combination of two separate studies: ORIENTATION ON MORAL ISSUES IN A METROPOLIS by Robert Angell, and THE MEANING OF WORK by Robert Kahn and Robert Weiss. Respondents were asked about the importance of work in their life, the things in their job that made them feel important, the things they wanted from their job that it did not provide, the other areas of their life that made them feel useful, and the people in their lives that influenced their choice of occupation. A number of questions that focused on women working outside the home probed respondents' feelings about how a husband was affected by a working wife, and if there were kinds of jobs that women should not have. Other questions probed respondents' views about what the United States should do in the event of an attack by the Soviet Union on a western European country, a parent not allowing a child to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school, the proposed racial integration of schools, appointment or election of government officials, effecting changes in the United States Constitution, trial by a jury or a judge, ways to effect world peace, the most important problem for the United States in the future, and a Communist revolution in a Latin American country. Additional items explored respondents' opinion of the Detroit newspapers and the Detroit newspaper strike, and their satisfaction with their neighborhood. Respondents were also asked about their political party preference, as well as their use and ownership of telephones. Demographic variables specify age, sex, race, education, place of birth, marital status, number of children, nationality, religious preferences, occupation, family income, length of residence in the Detroit area, home ownership, length of time at present residence, and class identification.

More information about the Detroit Area Studies Project is available on this Web site.

Angell, Robert C., Kahn, Robert, and Weiss, Robert. Detroit Area Study, 1956:  Orientation on Moral Issues in a Metropolis and The Meaning of Work. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-07-28.

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Value labels for unknown codes were added in variable V108.

A multistage sample of adults in households in the Detroit metropolitan area in 1956.

personal interviews

survey data



2010-07-28 Full suite of statistical packages were added/updated.

1984-05-10 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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