Deliberative Workshops refer to small-scale dialogue events where the focus is on having in-depth informed discussion.
Deliberative Workshops are a form of facilitated group discussions that provide participants with the opportunity to consider an issue in depth, challenge each other’s opinions and develop their views/arguments to reach an informed position. They allow the organisation conducting the event to have a greater understanding of what may lie behind an opinion or how people's views change as they are given new information or deliberate on an issue. Deliberative Workshops are similar to focus groups, although there tends to be a greater emphasis on deliberation.
• Deliberative Workshops typically involve 8 to 16 participants.
• The choice of participants will depend on the issue at stake; participants could be selected on the basis of demographics, interest group or through a random selection.
• The cost of Deliberative Workshops is generally not high, unless you need to recruit participants through truly random selection which can be costly.
• An incentive (such as a small payment) is sometimes offered to citizens for their time.
• Additional costs include venue hire (choose an informal setting where possible), catering and supporting arrangements, such as childcare.
• Sometimes a Deliberative Workshop reconvenes on several occasions which will add to the cost and time requirement.
Approximate time expense
• They can take a few hours to several days to conduct.
• Provides participants with the time and resources to consider an issue in-depth, including costs, benefits and long-term consequences.
• Discussing with others gives participants an insight into alternative perspectives, allowing their own views to be developed and challenged.
• It can build and improve relationships between participants.
• It can give participants new knowledge and skills.
• Like all forms of qualitative research, Deliberative Workshops are open to manipulation: how the discussions/activities are framed, how the participants are introduced to the topic, and what questions are asked will all influence the results.
• Deliberative Workshops only involve small numbers of people and therefore can’t be used to gather statistically significant data to accurately measure public opinion.
• The fact that participants' views are developed through deliberation may also mean that the final views are not representative of the views of the wider public, since they have not experienced the deliberative process.
Deliberative Workshops developed out of focus groups as a more in-depth and deliberative alternative.
Image by TangYauHoong.
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Build skills and capacity of participants
Gather individual pre-existing opinions
Gather informed and considered opinions (deliberation)
Generate new ideas (innovation)
Create a shared vision amongst participants
Reach consensus and overcome conflict
Make a direct decision
Number of participants
Self selected participants attending as individuals (open access process)
A Group which broadly reflects the Demographic make up of a certain community or population
Representatives of wider interest groups (stakeholders)
Level of awareness and interest
participants know about some aspects/can roughly articulate some interest
participants are well informed and can articulate their interests
Crime and justice
Culture and arts
Environment and climate change
Health and well-being
Housing and Planning
Science and technology
Limit search to...
... face to face processes
Level of involvement
Children and young people
Ethnic minority groups
Groups with low levels of literacy/confidence
People with learning difficulties