Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

DELIBERATIVE POLLING ® HEPnet Research Skills Workshop, Origins Centre, Wits University Johannesburg 12 – 14 November 2007.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "DELIBERATIVE POLLING ® HEPnet Research Skills Workshop, Origins Centre, Wits University Johannesburg 12 – 14 November 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 DELIBERATIVE POLLING ® HEPnet Research Skills Workshop, Origins Centre, Wits University Johannesburg 12 – 14 November 2007.

2 Introduction Brief background –Deliberative democracy –Deliberative Polling ® Definition Rationale Details of the methodology –What it entails –Steps Strengths and Weaknesses Practical applications –Some case studies

3 The process of obtaining useful public input can be one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of moving infrastructure projects from the planning process to the implementation phase. Some methods of obtaining public input can be contentious and in most cases produce few results that will move a project forward. In fact, the process can forestall projects indefinitely Fishkin (1996)

4 Background I Roots in deliberative democracy as coined by Bessette, J.M. (1980) Deliberative Democracy: The Majority Principle in Republican Government. Refers to any system of political decisions based on some trade-off of consensus decision making and representative democracy.

5 Deliberative Democracy: Principles Citizens must decide that deliberation is the basis upon which all decisions must be based Only decisions reached through this procedure can be taken as legitimate and worthy of pursuing The process and procedures must be transparent and decisions must be easily traceable back to the deliberative process There must be a commitment to respect the pluralism of values and aims as expressed by all Each member and all members must be accorded equal opportunities to participate freely in the deliberative processes Cohen, J. (1989) Deliberative Democracy & Democratic Legitimacy in Hamlin, A. & Pettit, P. (eds) The Good Polity. Oxford: Blackwell pp. 17 – 34.

6 Background II Method developed by Jim Fishkin in 1988 –First US trial conducted in January 1996 at the National Issues Convention featuring presidential aspirants and broadcast on TV Also used in resource planning for the electricity utility industry in a number of states, and the polls brought together 175 – 250 utility customers –First used internationally with two experiments funded by Channel 4 in Great Britain Public education – Northern Ireland Crime and violence – England Deliberative Polling ® is a trademark and fees from the trademark go towards supporting research at The Center for Deliberative Polling at Stanford University Website is

7 Deliberation: Serious, informative & purposeful civil discussions The process by which a group of individuals (e.g. a jury in a court case) discusses matters relevant to a particular issue(s) and decides by vote with which argument to support or oppose. debateIt is a form of debate that emphasises the use of reasoning and logic (as opposed to power, coercion or emotion) to make an informed choice or sound decisions.

8 Polling: Poll: a count of peoples votes/opinions Closely linked to the phrase public opinion polling: a survey of opinions on an issue(s) from a particular sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by asking a small number of (representative??) people a series of questions and then extrapolating the answers to the larger group within confidence intervals.

9 Definition A process by which a random, representative sample of citizens in a defined geographic area is selected and to which a brief survey questionnaire is administered to establish their demographic and attitudinal profiles on a particular issue(s) e.g. housing, healthcare, crime & violence, education, renewable energy, etc. Following this baseline poll, members of the representative sample are then invited to gather at a place for a weekend where they will deliberate issues in depth based on a set of carefully balanced and fair briefing materials which are also publicly available. Deliberations are moderated by neutral, trained persons and they involve policy makers, politicians, the public, advocates and/or experts.

10 Rationale Opinion polls not as effective as previously assumed –Most participants are not well-informed on issues so simply provide knee-jerk reactions to the half truths they gather through the media and other sources –Samples are sometimes questionable actualwell-informedDeliberative polling addresses the gap between actual public opinion and well-informed public opinion –Specially designed to show what an informed public would think more critically about the issues, if only it were enabled to consider its opinions more carefully and deliberately on the basis of impartial information made available to them.

11 What is required? Three groups are required: 1.A representative sample of the public to deliberate the issue(s) 2.Independent research professionals maintain a deliberative and ensure a representative process 3.A group of experts and special interest advocates To help assure a fair and balanced presentation of the issue(s) and measurement of the resulting opinions

12 How do Deliberative Polls work? Three interrelated phases –Phase I: Initiation of the deliberative process –Phase II: The education and engagement of deliberators through constructive engagements with experts & special interest groups –Phase III: The post-deliberations stage

13 Phase I {Initiation} Select a random, representative sample of the public to participate –Conduct a pre-event baseline survey on the demographic and attitudinal profiles of the sample –Invite a random, representative sub-sample to attend as deliberators –Engage research professionals (independent third party managers) to use the survey to assure parties that the community is fairly represented at the event –Provide the invited deliberators with relevant, carefully balanced & fair materials on the issue(s) to be deliberated Organisers must create an Advisory Committee made up experts & representatives of special interests –Selection criteria based on assuring both the substance and the appearance of a fair and balanced deliberation process

14 Bring the participants together in one place –Include experts, politicians and advocates (for and against) –Advisory Committee members must participate in the development of educational materials, the event agenda & the post-event survey instrument –Independent third party managers must be involved in ensuring the educational materials are balanced & fair –Allow deliberators to listen to experts explain the issues, alternatives and proposed solutions Allow same process for advocates to present issues & solutions Create smaller, randomly selected focus groups to learn about, discuss and ask questions on the issues Allow ample space for ALL to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the various alternatives as proposed –>>> trained moderators to guide discussions Phase II {The Educational Process} This will allow for deliberators to be exposed to information and the potential impacts on others in the community

15 Phase III {Post-Deliberations} Conduct a post-deliberation survey to accurately gather the considered opinions of an informed public –Ensure the post-survey involves only those who participated in the process –Engage with & involve independent research professionals to statistically analyse the survey response data to establish what actions an informed community would like to be implemented –Communicate the findings to the general public and the client

16 The 6 critical steps 1.Put together an advisory group made up of experts and advocates 2.Draw a scientific sample of the target population and gauge their uninformed opinion via a questionnaire 3.Recruit participants from the large sample for a one to two-day deliberation exercise 4.Provide participants with a balanced set of information 5.Bring the participants together for deliberation 6.Measure opinion of the participants post-event to discover what the informed opinion of the population would be Contact with the sample could be maintained for other future and follow-up research

17 Strengths Promotes community participation on issues that affect them Random sample selection helps to secure representation of the entire community in the deliberative process Transparency in the process ensures a reasoned, solution-oriented process that promotes informed & well-considered opinions & recommendations –The process is open, observable and produces results that are considered fair by all parties Inclusiveness of process allows a balanced consideration of all issues, including special interest concerns, feasibility issues & the best interests of the community as a whole –Tries to take account of the moral good not just individual interests Results can be accomplished within a limited time frame

18 Weaknesses It is a resource intensive activity –Money (for space, accommodation, stipends, consultants, broadcast fees, dissemination); time (weekend away??) Potential for selection bias remains –Incentives may be weak Inclusiveness of process may complicate rather than simplify issues –Deliberators may be overwhelmed with viewpoints Assumes neutrality of moderators & advisory committee –Could have ulterior motives that bias processes The rules of the game might interfere with rather than foster open & constructive deliberations –How long must one issue be deliberated before moving on & who decides this? Assumes a linear decision making process Potential for polarization of deliberators

19 Practical applications

20 The best approach is to understand and know what it is that you want to achieve and hence choose the most apt from the plethora of methods available to you.

21 Good sources Elliot J (2005) Deliberative Polling: Participatory Methods Toolkit – A Practitioners Manual. Public Policy Forum, Canada. ng.pdf Guild W (2004) Why Deliberative Polls Can Provide a Superior Solution for Public Input. Texas, The Guild Group. 0Solution%20for%20Public%20Input.PDF Case studies: http//

Download ppt "DELIBERATIVE POLLING ® HEPnet Research Skills Workshop, Origins Centre, Wits University Johannesburg 12 – 14 November 2007."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google