In the foreword Dr. Stuart defines the threefold purpose of the book: (1) to describe such conditions as those under which observations are being made and the sources of material, as a background for subsequent reports, (2) to make available conclusions concerning methodology and "the possibilities and limitations inherent in this type of undertaking" and (3) "to make some contribution toward the technic of individual or family record analysis."
Part 1 consists of a general description of the Harvard Center, the staff, its objectives and affiliations. It is brief and to the point. Part 2 contains a complete but too detailed account of the essential study of "the normal child." Part 3 gives a brief summary of such special studies as those on pregnancy and prematurity. Part 4 presents an exhaustive discussion of the study of 2 sisters and their families, including 6 children from 9 months to 6½ years