Published Date

September 1, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

From GI Roundtable 1: Guide for Discussion Leaders (1944)


Checking the Results

There are several methods of estimating whether the discussion program is getting results. From those that are listed here it is suggested that each leader select such as appear to offer him a practicable combination for checking the results of his own program.

  1. Attendance: The regularity with which particular individuals attend the meetings and the growth in attendance are indications of success.
  2. Attitudes: A record can be kept of any change in the attitudes of group members with respect to such points as:
    1. Tolerance of opposing opinion.
    2. Willingness to ask questions and express opinions.
    3. Skill in asking pertinent and important questions.
    4. Willingness to listen.
    5. Avoidance of personalities in remarks.
    6. Friendly interest in other group members.
    7. Desire to continue the discussion after the meeting.
  3. Reading habits: Increased use of books and magazines in the library before and after the discussion may be taken as a sign of stirred interest, if the library provides pertinent material.
  4. Group participation: It is possible to appoint someone to keep track of the proportion of available time taken up by the group members as distinguished from speaker or leader. The higher this proportion is, the more successful is the meeting. An increase in the number of individuals participating from meeting to meeting is a healthy sign.
  5. Germane discussion: If the minutes show that the thread of discussion kept close to the announced subject, the discussion may be considered to have been well led. This is not to say, however, that very effective discussions may not develop from an important side issue of the planned subject.
  6. Interest at close of discussion: If the group or audience has evidently not had enough when the leader closes the meeting, the meeting is an obvious success.
  7. Post-discussion interest questionnaires: It is possible to develop a brief questionnaire to measure the success of discussion meetings. The questionnaire should fit local needs.

Reference Materials

A series of reference pamphlets for the use of discussion leaders is published by the War Department as numbered Education Manuals in the same format as this guide. Each of these pamphlets, except the present one, includes factual material about some question that may be of interest to personnel in the Army. Each contains specific suggestions to the leader as to how to handle the issue in a discussion meeting. The subject of each pamphlet has been chosen after an analysis of research studies made of the interests of Army personnel. The manuscript for each pamphlet is written in popular style and is prepared by an authority on the subject for the Historical Service Board of the American Historical Association. The general title for the series is G. I. Roundtable. New volumes of the series are to be published at frequent intervals. Orientation and education officers will receive a sample distribution of each as it comes out, together with instructions for requisitioning additional copies that may be desired.

Reference materials published by the War Department are restricted to those that comply with Title V of Public Law 277 as amended by Public Law 418-78th Congress. (See W. D. Bulletins No. 5 and 18, 1944.) Before materials published by any private or public agency including those listed below are used for off-duty discussion, commanding officers should satisfy themselves that the materials comply with W. D. Circular No. 348, 1944 and Section 11, A. S. F. Circular No. 271, 23 August 1944 on dissemination to members of the armed forces of political argument or political propaganda.

Magazines are a rich source of reference material for discussion. Because they are commonly available, among the more useful for this purpose are The Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, Time, Life, and Fortune. The first four are included in the Unit Sets of Magazines distributed to oversea commands.

Reference pamphlets that will be useful to discussion leaders are distributed by a large number of publishers. They can readily be secured for groups within the continental United States. Some of the publishing organizations are given in the list below. The list is annotated with information about the character of pamphlets put out by each distributor, prices, and addresses from which pamphlets can be purchased out of library funds or other funds available to the leader.

List of Publishers

American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations, 129 East 52nd Street, New York, N. Y., publishes two series of pamphlets, one independently and the other in cooperation with the Webster Publishing Company. Subjects have to do with the Pacific Area. Typical are Meet the Anzacs; Asia’s Captive Colonies; China-America’s Ally; Our Far Eastern Record; Modern Japan; Land o f the Soviets. List prices vary from 5 to 50 cents. On orders of over 25 copies discounts vary from 20 to 40 per cent depending upon the individual pamphlet and the number ordered. Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, 8 West 40th Street, New York, N. Y., publishes materials on postwar problems. Pamphlet, Toward Greater Freedom, is an excellent study guide to a variety of postwar problems. List price 15 cents.

Foreign Policy Association, 22 East 38th Street, New York, N. Y., publishes Headline Books and Foreign Policy Reports. Subjects deal with foreign nations and their social, economic, and political problems. Typical Headline Books: America’s Battlefronts; Russia at War; The Struggle for World Order; Look at Latin America; American Foreign Policy; East and West of Suez. Foreign Policy Reports on current international problems are published on the 1st and 15th of each month. Prices (both series) 25 cents per copy. Discounts of 20 per cent on 10 to 99 copies and of 40 per cent on 100 to 499. Special discounts on unusually large orders.

National Planning Association, 800 21st Street, N. W., Washington, D. C., publishes materials on postwar problems in a series called Planning Pamphlets. Typical subjects: Relief for Europe; Outlook for Domestic Air Transport; Outlook for the Railroad Industry; When Demobilization Day Comes; Post War Industrialization o f China. List price 25 cents. Discounts of 10 per cent on 10 to 50 copies, 15 per cent on 50 to 100, and 20 per cent on 100 or more.

Oxford University Press, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y., publishes series called America in a World at War. Typical subjects: An Atlas of the U.S.S.R.; Radio in Wartime; France and the War; Women in the War Production; German Geopolitics. List price 10 cents. Discounts vary from 10 to 40 per cent.

Public Affairs Committee, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N. Y., publishes pamphlets on world and national affairs. Typical subjects: Safeguarding Our Civil Liberties; Rebuilding Europe-After Victory; Freedom from Want; The Airplane and Tomorrow’s World. List price 10 cents. Discount of 20 per cent on orders for over 25 and under 100 copies; 25 per cent on quantities over 100; special discounts on orders over 500. Twentieth Century Fund, 330 West 42nd Street, New York, N. Y., publishes a useful study and discussion manual called Wartime Facts and Post War Problems, which contains a bibliography of over 200 titles. List price 50 cents.

H. W. Wilson Company, 950 University Avenue, New York, N. Y., publishes a series of books called The Reference Shelf. These books are collections of speeches, articles, and other original documents bearing upon such subjects as Plans for a Post War World, Independence for India, Wage Stabilization and Inflation, and. Federal Regulation of Labor Unions. List price $1.25 per copy. Discount 10 per cent.