Using Quali-Quantitative Indicators for Assessing the Quality of Citizen Participation: A Study on Three Citizen Juries
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Over the last 3 decades, citizen involvement has become rather common in policymaking processes. Its rationale, as well as its potential benefits and limitations, are manifold. The literature on the evaluation of public participation is copious and it is crucial both to implement effective processes, and to achieve high-quality outcomes. Inspired by deliberative democracy theory, dialogue/fairness and knowledge/competence have been considered the two main criteria to assess the quality of deliberative processes. Based on the analysis of three citizen juries, the paper focuses on the process through which citizen deliberation occurs. Specifically, three properties related to dialogue, i.e., equity, cooperation, and cognitive openness, were treated as quality indicators of the deliberative process. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used, and three sources of data utilized: (a) semi-structured interviews to jurors; (b) post-jury questionnaires; and (c) jurors’ conversational turns. Altogether, the analyses showed that despite the imbalance in participation, the deliberation process was perceived as fair. However, findings also suggested that the participatory setting did not promote the ability of participants to generate new collective knowledge.
KeywordsDeliberation Citizen participation Evaluation Quality indicators
This work benefits from a research project “The quality of deliberation” (PRIN) funded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research of the Italian Government.
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