Social Research Laboratory

The Social Research Laboratory at Northern Arizona University (NAU) started as a small unit within the Sociology Department. Faculty members such as Dr. Frederic (Fred) I. Solop led student workers in different social science research projects. By the time of Flagstaff 2020, the Social Research Laboratory was a campus-wide entity doing annual state-wide surveys and other larger projects.

As part of Phase One, Flagstaff 2020 contracted the Social Research Laboratory to conduct research to “determine prevailing values and attitudes” and “to better understand what the greater Flagstaff area looks like today.” In the clip below, Dr. Fred Solop describes the Social Research Laboratory’s involvement in the Flagstaff 2020 community visioning process. Watch Solop’s entire oral history interview via Digital Collections.

Above: Dr. Fred Solop discusses the survey research conducted by the Social Research Laboratory in support of Flagstaff 2020.

The initial Flagstaff 2020 research survey was conducted over the phone with a representative sample of Flagstaff area residents. In August 1996, the Social Research Laboratory published the Flagstaff 2020 Community Values Assessment Survey Final Report based on their work during Phase One.

During Phase Two, the Social Research Laboratory conducted a second telephone survey to “validate” the community values identified in their first survey and to assess what Flagstaff residents thought about the policy directions and ideas laid out in the draft Flagstaff 2020 vision statement. Their second survey, the Flagstaff 2020 Vision Validation Survey, was published in June of 1997.

This survey research assisted various Flagstaff 2020 teams when analyzing community values and when compiling the final ideas and plans for their final report, A Vision for our Community, published in June of 1997.