If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the site sociologists (and NCDD members) Caroline Lee and Francesca Polletta created at http://sites.lafayette.edu/ddps/ to display the results of the 2009 Dialogue and Deliberation Practitioners Survey. You can also download the full survey results here.
The survey was conducted online last Fall for the purpose of academic research on the deliberation field by the researchers. Francesca and Caroline felt that the field of public dialogue and deliberation has been growing so dramatically that no one fully knows what the field looks like. They sought to answer questions like:
- Who is doing public dialogue and deliberation work?
- What forms is their work taking?
- What common challenges do they face?
- How they would like to see the field develop?
The data they collected is extraordinarily valuable for our field, and you are encouraged to site it and utilize it widely. On the site, you can download or browse the survey results, ask a question of the researchers, or join a discussion about the findings.
Here are some of the results I found most interesting/useful from NCDD’s perspective:
Participants were asked to rate the importance of the 5 challenges facing the D&D community that were identified by NCDD conference participants:
- 34% identified the Systems Challenge as our most important challenge (making D&D integral to our public and private systems).
- Three of the challenges were seen as most important by 20% each: the Framing Challenge (framing D&D work in a more accessible way), the Action & Change Challenge (strengthening the link between D&D, action and policy change), and the Evaluation Challenge (demonstrating to powerholders that D&D works).
- Notably, only 6% indicated that the Inclusion Challenge (addressing oppression and bias) as the most important challenge facing our field.
When asked who should take the lead in advancing dialogue and deliberation in the U.S., “professional associations” like NCDD and IAP2 was selected most often (62%), followed by an “alliance of experienced local organizations” (51%), the White House Office of Public Engagement (48%), “national D&D facilitation organizations” like AmericaSpeaks and National Issues Forums (47%), foundations that support D&D (47%).
57% of respondents prefer the term “community of practice” to describe the people and organizations currently leading D&D efforts, compared to 16% who prefer “movement” and 11% who prefer “profession.”
Of the 4 engagement streams (exploration, conflict transformation, decision making and collaborative action), conflict transformation was the only one selected by less than half (38%) of respondents indicating the type of D&D work they practice. (more…)