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Naming & Framing

Issue framing helps people examine choices in light of what matters most to them. A well-framed issue is inclusive of different perspectives and framed in terms that people can relate to. How we "name" and "frame" an issue before people are even brought together has an impact on who is attracted to - and repelled by - our program.

Here are the 6 resources from Naming & Framing.

Beginning With the End in Mind Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Julie Pratt. West Virginia Center for Civic Life, with support from the Kettering Foundation.

Issue framing is rooted in the belief that democracy depends upon people making choices together about how to deal with problems in their communities. Framing an issue for public deliberation requires us to examine a problem from many angles. It encourages us to be curious about - and even compassionate toward - ideas that differ from our own, so that our deliberations may help us discover common ground for action. A well-framed issue will be inclusive of differing perspectives and will be framed in public terms that citizens can relate to. This great 22-page workbook takes you through the various components or steps of framing an issue for public deliberation.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Pratt-IssueFramingWorkbook.doc

Framing Questions and Starting Conversations Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Let's Talk America, 2004.

Let's Talk America (LTA), a project that encouraged conversations that bridge across political difference, provided a resource to help conversation hosts frame questions in a way that is not polarizing. LTA recommended starting with a question that invites a personal story from people, in order to create a context in which they feel invited to speak. They suggested the question "What about the invitation to this conversation moved and inspired you? What led you to come?" Here are some other ideas...

Framing, Deliberation, and Opinions about Campaign Finance Reform

James N. Druckman, Kjersten R. Nelson. Paper presented at the Political Psychology and Behavior Workshop, Center for Basic Research in the Social Sciences, Harvard University, December 5, 2002.

Public opinion research demonstrates that citizens' opinions depend on elite rhetoric and interpersonal conversations. Yet we continue to have little idea about how these two forces interact with one another. In this paper, the authors address this issue by experimentally examining how interpersonal conversations affect (prior) elite framing effects. Focusing on opinions about campaign finance reform, the authors find that conversations among like-minded people have no effect on elite framing, but conversations that include conflicting perspectives eliminate elite framing effects.

Issue Framing Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

A "frame" is a way of understanding or interpreting what is going on and how we should relate to it. How we frame an issue or conflict (or how it is framed for us) has a tremendous impact on what we do about it...

Issue Framing: Issue Books and Implications for Community Action Highly Recommended

Chris Kelley. Kettering Foundation, 2002.

The Kettering Foundation long ago identified a disconnect between the public and politics. People in communities all over the country felt estranged from their elected representatives, from their public institutions, and most importantly, from each other. A significant portion of this disconnect focused on how issues in communities got named and framed. Kettering surmised, correctly, that if a public issue was named in such a way that the public could not identify with it, then the public would have a difficult time supporting it. However, if the public could identify a public problem together (naming) and then discuss choices on how to solve the particular problem (framing), then the likelihood of greater community action increased ten-fold.

What's Behind Issue Framing and Why Does it Matter?

Sara Ross. Excerpts from introductory materials in "The Integral Process for Working on Complex Issues (TIP)" (Public Issues Edition). Arina, Inc., 2006.

In some way or another, most public issues need all of us to help remove the supports that keep the issues propped up and causing problems. The process of framing the approaches to the issues, and then deliberating them, assures that the issues get the complex attention they need. It is a foundation for multilateral action in the necessary combinations that most issues need, if we really intend to work on them. It assures we can discover and creatively use all perspectives - including, but not only, our favorite ones.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Ross-IssueFraming.pdf

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