We live in a world of contemporaneous ancestors; only a few men, and even these only for a short moment, think straight, constructively and creatively, according to H. L. Horning, Past-President of the Society, a member of three fuel-research committees and an internationally recognized authority on research, a subject which he handles in a vivid and attention-holding way.
Three methods by which people come to a conclusion are listed as the deductive, which was the method of the Greeks; the religious, or mystical; and the inductive, or research, which is the modern scientific way. Regarding the last the author says:
The inductive method results from a state of mind; research is a method of inquiry and a way of thinking.
Research has for its object merely to glean that essential element in any situation which will be useful to the attainment of any given purpose.
Research is largely a process of turning things upside down and sideways, looking at them on the inside and in the most unaccustomed ways.
Most business failures are caused by someone not being research-minded.
Mr. Horning goes on to discuss many aspects of the subject and illustrates some of his points with examples from personal experience. Engineering-college professors and industrial research men who took part in the discussion agree with the author's exposition of the subject and make interesting comments from their own experiences.