Americans believe the combination of factors that will make this country great in the future is somewhat different from the one that made it great in the past.

In order of importance, the public attribute America's present greatness to "rich, natural resources," a hard-working people," "scientific research," "industrial know-how" and "technological genius." As they look ahead, people are convinced the United States will depend more on scientific research, industrial know-how and technological genius, and work.

Also gaining importance as factors in the future are "government that responds to people's needs," "giving every race and creed an equal chance to get ahead," and "a free, unlimited education to all qualified."

Of 20 major factors tested in a Harris Survey of 1,520 adults nationwide, six are projected to be more important over the next 25 years than they were in the past.The shifts:

At the top of the list is "scientific research." While 89 per cent think this was an important factor in past greatness, 91 per cent believe it will be a major factor in America's future success.

"Technological genius" is felt to have been a key element in America's past greatness by 75 per cent. Seventy-eight percent believe it is a key to future national greatness, while 80 per cent continue to think that industrial know-how will also be crucial.

"A government that responds to people's needs" is named by 61 per cent as having made a major contribution to the country's greatness in the past. Seventy per cent think this will play a more important role in the future.

While 59 per cent believe that "giving every race and creed an equal chance to get ahead" has been a major contributor to this country's greatness in the past, 70 per cent think that his will be a key factor in the future.

In the past, according to 72 per cent, a major contributor to the country's greatness was a "free, inlimited education to all qualified." In the future, 75 per cent think it will be important.