Study Description

Dynamics of Idealism: Volunteers for Civil Rights 1965-1982

* Most of this information has been taken from the original study description, written in 1985.


Unique Identification Number:
SM-004-002-1-2 is the public use version of this study.
Type of File:
Wave I questionnaires were administered to voter registration drive volunteers in the 1965 Summer Community Organization in Political Education (SCOPE) project of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), with a more than 80% response rate (the exact size of the population could not be calculated precisely). Wave II, designed to measure change and obtain information about the summer, was administered by mail in the fall, with a 71% completion rate. An additional 17 volunteers responded only to the fall follow-up, for a total of 255 completed wave one and wave two questionnaires. Wave III questionnaires were mailed to volunteers 17 years after their participation in the voter registration effort. The study was conducted in 1982, with 146 of the original sample (N=255) completing a mailout-mailback questionnaire (there were a small number done on the telephone). Individuals were located by various methods, including contacting alumni associations and parents, and searching professional directories, and public telephone books.
These data files represent questionnaires administered to volunteers in the 1965 Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) before and after a two and a half month voter registration effort in May and the Fall of 1965, and a follow-up study in 1982. The three data files represent each of the three waves with missing data entered in the third file for those individuals not located for wave three. The data in Waves I and II contain information on the volunteer's background, status, and parental relations, attitudes toward racial and political issues, commitment to social change, prior experience with Blacks and activism, images of the white South, expectations of the Black Community, characteristics of Black supporters, social relationships with Blacks, perceived changes (in the South, the movement, ideology, political views, personal life and career aspirations). Wave III data files contain information on memories and effects of the 1965 summer project, political participation since 1965, religious and humanitarian activities since 1965; attitudes toward civil rights, violence, the courts, and political change; evaluation of the importance of the issues of civil rights and progress for Blacks with other political, social, and religious issues; religiosity; the importance of a college education; satisfaction with self, family, and friends; political opinions on current issues; and demographic characteristics.
Geographic Coverage:
United States
civil rights, political activism, race relations, the South, religious beliefs, charitable activities, voting practices, political contributions, Blacks
Technical Notes:
For waves two and three missing data values have been entered for those individuals who were not located or who did not respond. Users should note that there is no separate coding of missing data due to non-response versus not applicable, or no answer given.
Version 2 , now the public use version, was created because the original SPSS-X archive file was not readable as of 7/97. Raw data files found to be only concatenated, not merged. (For example wave I file has record length of 80.)As a result, new merged files were created from card-image files by Dean Nelson to match column locations written into the codebooks.
Cited References:
N.J. Demereth III, Gerald Marwell, and Michael T. Aiken, Dynamics of Idealism, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 1971).

Acknowledgement of Donation

This edition of the Dynamics of Idealism: Volunteers for Civil Rights, 1965-1982 has been deposited at the Data and Program Library Service (now the Data and Information Services Center), University of Wisconsin-Madison for distribution by Gerald Marwell, University of Wisconsin, Department of Sociology.

Acknowledgement of Assistance

All manuscripts utilizing data made available through the Data and Information Services Center (DISC) should acknowledge that fact as well as cite the title of the study as indicated on the title page and sample catalog statement and identify the original collector(s) of the data. All users of these data are urged to follow some adaptation of this statement with the parentheses indicating items to be completed or deleted appropriately by the individual analyst.

The data (and tabulations) utilized in this publication were made available (in part) by the Data and Information Services Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison. The Dynamics of Idealism: Volunteers for Civil Rights, 1965-1982 was produced by Michael T. Aiken, N.J. Demereth III, and Gerald Marwell and is distributed by the Data and Information Services Center. Neither the principal investigators, nor the Data and Information Services Center bears any responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here.