I hope that some kind of formal evaluation of the Transmitted Deprivation Programme will be made. It would be a pity (to say the least) not to try to draw some specific lessons from such an enterprise before someone embarks on the next. From here there seems so much that we need to find out about research sponsorship that research on research seems badly needed. No doubt it would be wise to heed Mr Posner’s mistrust of the genre and perhaps aim no higher than to record the history of the exercise in a systematic fashion, its aims and achievements, the processes of collaboration and the experience of key participants, while this is still relatively fresh.
(National Archives, Kew, London, MH 166/1518: Hazel Houghton to P. V. Foster, 8 May 1979)
The Programme of Research into Transmitted Deprivation…would make a fascinating research topic in itself…there is certainly a rich mine for the student of the sociology of knowledge…. It is all there: the growth from a superficially simple idea to a voluminous debate, the definition and redefinition of terms (from cycle of deprivation to transmitted deprivation to intergenerational continuities in deprivation), the interplay of ideology and research that produced such changes (the first two definitions imply pathology, the third allows of structural interpretations), the social construction and reconstruction of the social problem, the development and reification of a concept, and so forth.
(John Edwards, ‘Running in families?’, Times Higher Education Supplement, 26 November 1982, p 16)
Please retain these files for the 25 year period. They are the history of the commissioning of an important and complex set of studies and we are likely to receive requests for documentation of the process of commissioning. We have already received one such query and as the years go by and the work assumes historical importance I would anticipate more requests for the records of the process.
(National Archives, Kew, London, MH 166/1515: Hazel Canter to Mrs Sutton, 8 October 1985)