The Occupation Variable
No variable is more difficult to subject to systematic analysis than occupation. For this reason, and because occupational factors are so crucial to the preceding analysis, it seems appropriate, ff not necessary, to outline here the methodological problems encountered in this respect and the means used to resolve them.
Some indication of the difficulties of occupational classifi- cation can be seen in the fact that a total of 426 different occupations were reported by the 606 who answered the open- end question [#43], "What are your chief occupations?" The specificity of these multitudinous answers, moreover, covered a wide range, from "dean of a college" or "editor" to "com- munication and education" or "professional." Perhaps the most extreme case of ambiguity was the conferee who described his occupation as "man of good will." The task of classification was further complicated by 37 entries which were described as "former" occupations and by 44 jobs which were characterized as "volunteer." Additional difficulties were created by the 102 conferees who described themselves as active in more than one occupational field and an even larger number who reported holding more than one job in the same field.
All of these data were classified in terms of 17 broad occupational fields (listed below). Whenever the response to the question was so general as to render coding impossible, classification was based upon secondary evidence derived from written comments elsewhere on the questionnaire or from answers to a question [#56] that asked, "Among the following categories, where would you classify the organizations, associations, institutions, or partnerships in which you presently earn your annual income?" Thirteen alternatives corresponding to most of the occupation cate- gories were provided with this subsidiary question. When