METHODOLOGY OF THIS REPORT
THE validity of this survey rests wholly upon the soundness of the manner in which the facts were gathered. Method, however, is a tool, not a product. So there has been reserved as an appendix to this report a detailed account of how the cooperation of nearly all of the U. S. institutions of higher learning made it possible for the Reader Research Department of TIME INC. to compile the data published herein.
The survey is based on an alphabetical cross-section of all living college graduates in the continental United States. This cross-section, or sample, represents a close approximation of one-half of one per cent of all the total living alumni. It was created by segregating from the grand total of all living graduates those whose last names begin with certain letters, for instance, "Ma",* after extensive preliminary research determining that the aggregate of graduates so identified would produce a sample of the desired percentage and representation.
In order to obtain this select list, TIME's Reader Research Department invited each of the 1,164 institutions of higher learning listed in the U. S. Office of Education's 1940 Educational Directory to submit the names and addresses, together with other primary data, of each of its living graduates included in the alphabetical cross-section.
On December 30, 1939, the following letter was sent to the chief administrative office of each of these schools:
The Reader Research Department of TIME INC. is embarking on an ambitious program which I am sure will be productive of extremely interesting and invaluable information to all educators when published. A cross-section of all college gradu-