In this report to the Kettering Foundation, researchers Bill Corbett and Beth Offenbacker use surveys and interviews to point to the need to develop a “thick” understanding of designing public processes to address issues. Holding forums is one thing, but without deep thinking about the role of the forum in a community’s politics, the legitimacy of public processes can diminish.
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.
This Kettering Foundation Report by William J. Ball on how forum participants are affected by their participation provides an important window into the value of forums. Using pre-forum surveys and repeating the questionnaire three months later, the researchers found some stability of effect. Anecdotal evidence of the impact forums have matters, but empirical evidence strengthens our understanding of the degree of change we see.
Researchers from the California NIF Network, Carole Paterson and Craig Paterson, and Sandy Tosti, Solano County Library, are the authors of this Kettering Foundation Report. They describe bringing together the leaders of four deliberative projects held over several years in one California county. At the beginning of the study, the researchers believed that forums made a difference.
This report to the Kettering Foundation from the Oklahoma Partnership for Public Deliberation looks back at groups of participants in their moderator recorder training institutes to learn whether the ideas had been put into practice. According to authors Renee A. Daugherty and Kimberly A. Williams, the study results reveal that, while many institute participants do not hold forums, they have a better understanding of public life and community politics.
In this Kettering Foundation Report, authors David Stein, Associate Professor, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, and David Patton, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Executive Director, Council for Public Deliberation, The Ohio State University, posit that sustaining commitments to public deliberation will require change in values and meaning associated with public life (transformative learning).
Developing Deliberative Practice: The Role of Deliberation with Underrepresented Populations in Community Politics
Alberto Olivas and Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo