This study explores the way people feel about our present society and seeks indications of their preferences for the future.
A central theme is the ubiquity of technology in an 'advanced' society. The study began with consideration of the likely effects of new technology, but branched out to encompass related social issues such as standard of living, consumption of non-renewable resources, pollution, unemployment, decision-making and stress.
This is an empirical study for which the data collection involved a personal briefing of participants by the researcher and their subsequent response by completion of written documents.
The study examines the responses of 225 people in five social or work groups in the Brisbane metropolitan area. Respondents were asked to perform two tasks:
1. To rank-order sixteen possible scenarios for Australian society in the decade 1980-1990.
2. To answer a twenty-point questionnaire on related issues.
The sixteen scenarios were devised by using a quarter-factorial design to combine the six factors noted above. The responses were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).
The study indicates the choices and trade-offs that people make in selecting social environments which they deem satisfactory. It also reveals attitudes to a wide range of social issues, including unemployment, pollution, education and politically-related topics such as strikes, compulsory unionism and nuclear power.