CONSULTANTS AND CITIZENS: A RESEARCH RELATIONSHIP*
Solon T. Kimball, Marion Pearsall, and Jane A. Bliss
A VARIETY of relationships may exist between the scientist and his subjects when both are human. The purpose of the present paper is to describe a mutually satisfying relationship between research-consultants from the University of Alabama and citizens of Talladega, Alabama, in conducting a combination of community self-survey and a basic study of the self-survey process.1 The relationship that ultimately developed was only partially the result of deliberate planning; unfortunately, a study of the nature of the relationship was not part of the original research design.2 However, the arrangement proved so eminently workable that we feel justified in presenting it here as an example of sociologists and citizens working together on a research project to benefit both.
The relationship existing between research team and citizens on the Talladega project was unusual, although certain components of the relationship represented well-established practice. What was unique was the combination of conventional research methods with a special "stand-by" consultant relation. That is, consultant services were given only when specifically requested by the community. Moreover, the re-____________________