The following is a paper written by Gunnar Dybwad in 1959. At the time, Professor Dybwad was executive director of the National Association for Retarded Children, now the Arc of the United States. He subsequently served as professor of human development at the Heller School at Brandeis University and was a visiting scholar at the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University.

Professor Dybwad was well-known for his commitment to the rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families and was one of the earliest and most outspoken proponents of deinstitutionalization and community integration. Many of his speeches on these topics were published in AAMR's 1999 monograph, Ahead of His Time: Selected Speeches of Gunnar Dybwad, which was edited by Mary Ann Allard, Anne M. Howard, Lee E. Vorderer, and Alice I Wells.

In this paper, which is contained at the Samuel Gridley Howe Library in Waltham, Massachusetts, and reprinted here with the library's permission, Professor Dybwad provides his thoughts on applied social science research in mental retardation. The research agenda he set forth was extremely forward-looking for 1959 and remains relevant today.

Professor Dybwad died on September 13, 2001.—–S.J.T.