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The Bureau of Applied Social Research brought empirical research in the behavioral sciences out of its infancy in the two decades after 1939. Headed originally by Paul Lazersfeld, the bureau conducted pioneering research in voting behavior, radio listenership, and consumer behavior. Under Kingsley Davis and other directors after 1948, it broadened its scope to study population, economics, education, and international problems, producing hundreds of reports and training many of the new generation of researchers in a rapidly growing field. In a 1977 reorganization by its host institution, Columbia University, the bureau was superseded by the Center for the Social Sciences. From the files at Columbia, three types of documents are included: 508 bureau reports, omitting any that have previously been published as books; 16 monographs; and six bureau training manuals.
Exploring primary resources from the ‘80s and ‘90s reveal that since the beginning, critic struggled with classifying Cornell’s singular rock ’n ’roll vision.