How Americans Responded
A survey project at the Institute for Social Research, the University of Michigan.


Terrorism Bibliography
(updated September 29, 2004)
(Microsoft Word file)


Steering Committee
(Adobe Acrobat file)


Survey Methodology and Questionnaire with Results
(Adobe Acrobat file)


Press Releases
(Web links)
May 03, 2002
Oct 09, 2001 - Part 2
Oct 09, 2001 - Part 1


Media Coverage
(Adobe Acrobat files)
August 21, 2002 - USA Today
June 15, 2002 - AP
May 19, 2002 - AP
May 17, 2002 - Gannett
May 6, 2002 - Wash. Post


Capitol Hill Briefing
(PowerPoint file)


Recent Findings
(PDF file)
PS Article
(PowerPoint files)
May 17, 2002 - AAPOR
October 24, 2001 - Overview



Questions? Contact us by
sending e-mail to
"har@isr.umich.edu".

On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a group of concerned social scientists at the Institute for Social Research (ISR) gathered to consider how their talents might be used to help the country in the wake of the shocking events of that morning. The group included economists, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and survey methodologists, and they became the Steering Committee for the project. Based upon their previous research experience, each proposed hypotheses on aspects of American life and individuals’ morale and behavior that were most likely to be affected. While they were relatively confident about expected relationships in the short term, they were uncertain about how transitory or permanent these changes might be or how intertwined and mutually reinforcing they could become. They decided that tracking the impact of these events on Americans’ psychological well-being, as well as their political beliefs and behavioral intentions regarding economic activity, would offer the country critical information in the months ahead.

They assumed that media polls would proliferate, providing the country with quick and periodic snapshots of reactions to current events, but that the scientific monitoring of the evolution of attitudes important to changing behaviors would be overlooked. They decided that the best scientific strategy was to leave the snap shots to others and instead to delve deeply into how individuals adjusted to that day’s tragedies and their aftershocks by following them over time. The results of each wave have been summarized in an annotated questionnaire.

The immediacy of the need for information and the desire to initiate the panel study was so great that the project was undertaken immediately using internal funds and the volunteer labor of scientists and interviewers. These were eventually supplemented with small grants from the Russell Sage Foundation and the Department of Communication Studies to support two additional waves of interviewing. The third wave of the study is now in the field.

An important goal of the project was to disseminate the HAR findings quickly and to a broad audience. This has been accomplished through press releases, which resulted in wide distribution through coverage in the national media, as well as a briefing on Capitol Hill. Other presentations have been made at conferences and meetings of professional associations.