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Citizens’ Juries and Small Group Decision Making

The main characteristic distinguishing the citizens jury from most other forms of public participation is the central role assigned to discursive group processes. As outlined in the first research report in this series (Blamey, James, Smith and Niemeyer, 2000), the aim of discursive or deliberative democratic processes is to obtain reasoned agreement among free and equal citizens. Members of the public are asked to work as a group to find the best solution to a community problem by considering information from expert witnesses and by deliberating together on the merits of different options. The main objective of this report is to provide an overview of the literature on small group and jury decision-making and to consider the implications of this literature for the conduct of deliberative processes such as the citizens jury.

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