Core Insights


Kettering's primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should?

Our research is distinctive because it is conducted from the perspective of citizens and focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation.

Our research suggests that a true, robust democracy requires:


Democracy requires responsible citizens who can make sound decisions about their future and can act on these decisions.

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Democracy requires a community, or a society of citizens, that can work together to address common problems.

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Democracy requires institutions with public legitimacy that contribute to strengthening society.

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Democratic Practices

Kettering research has also identified some of the things citizens, communities, and institutions must do to make democracy work as it should: we call these democratic practices.

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Problems Behind the Problems

We probe underneath obvious problems to find the deeper causes, or "problems behind the problems," that prevent democracy from working as it should.

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