Developing Deliberative Practice: Argument Quality in Public Deliberations

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Researchers at the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, Kansas State University—Timothy Steffensmeier, Assistant Professor, Speech Communication; William Schenck-Hamlin, Professor, Speech Communication; and David Procter, Director, Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy—compared the quality of arguments among deliberative forums, public hearings, and online message boards on the topic of banning smoking. They used a quantitative approach using the Discourse Quality Index that revealed surprising differences. In this report to the Kettering Foundation, the concluding reflections offer insights into the development of deliberative work at centers for public life.

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Theory and Practice