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Understanding Participant Representativeness in Deliberative Events

The case study, Understanding Participant Representativeness in Deliberative Events: A Case Study Comparing Probability and Non-Probability Recruitment Strategies, by Jamie Griffin, Tarik Abdel-Monem, Alan Tomkins, Amanda Richardson, and Stacia Jorgensen, was published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1. This case study examines participant representativeness within deliberative events and then reviews two public participation processes in Lincoln, Nebraska.

From the Abstract

Deliberative event participants often differ in meaningful ways from the population they are intended to represent; however, less is known about whether various recruitment methods influence participant representativeness. Furthermore, a better understanding of where in the recruitment process lack of representation occurs is needed. We present a framework for understanding why event attendees might not represent the target population and then compare two different recruitment strategies using this framework. Specifically, we consider a Deliberative Poll that used a random-digit-dial telephone recruitment survey and a deliberative event that used a convenience sample web recruitment survey. For two stages in the recruitment process, we calculate nonresponse errors for statistics assessing demographic characteristics and confidence in local government. Notably, both recruitment methods resulted in event attendees that were older and better educated than the population they were intended to represent providing evidence that probability recruitment methods do not necessarily outperform nonprobability methods. Additionally, we demonstrate that aspects of the recruitment process other than the recruitment survey sampling method used can influence participant representativeneess. We conclude by discussing adjustments to the recruitment process that might improve the representativeness of event attendees.

Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here.

About the Journal of Public Deliberation
Spearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form.

Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem

Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA

Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol11/iss1/

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