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Study Circles

Study Circles enable communities to strengthen their own ability to solve problems by bringing large numbers of people together in dialogue across divides of race, income, age, and political viewpoints.  Study Circles combine dialogue, deliberation, and community organizing techniques, enabling public talk to build understanding, explore a range of solutions, and serve as a catalyst for social, political, and policy change.  Read our summary of this method, or learn more at www.studycircles.org.

Here are the 24 resources from Study Circles.

Showing 1 - 20 of 24     Next Page >>

An Evaluation Tool-Kit for Study Circles

Ratnesh Nagda. Study Circles Resource Center.

The tool-kit is a community-centered and user-friendly guide to evaluation for study circles organizers. It focuses on empowerment evaluation and the logic model.

Building Strong Neighborhoods: A Study Circle Guide for Public Dialogue and Community Problem Solving Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC), 1998.

A four-session discussion guide on many important neighborhood issues including: race and other kinds of differences; young people and families; safety and community-police relations; homes, housing and beautification; jobs and neighborhood economy; and schools.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org/en/DiscussionGuides.aspx

D&D; Success Stories Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Compiled by the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), 2005.

Below are dozens of links to dialogue and deliberation success stories and case studies that are available online. Approaches covered include Deliberative Polling, Citizens Juries, Future Search, National Issues Forums, Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue, AmericaSpeaks, Study Circles, the Public Conversations Project, and Wisdom Councils. NCDD has been compiling these resources for the D&D; community for several years, but we could really use your help keeping this page updated. Email us at [email protected] with your additions and changes.

Deliberative Dialogue to Expand Civic Engagement: What Kind of Talk Does Democracy Need? Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Martha McCoy and Pat Scully, Study Circles Resource Center. National Civic Review, vol. 91, no. 2, pp. 117-135, 2002.

Martha McCoy and Pat Scully of the Study Circles Resource Center wrote this excellent article that distinguishes deliberation from dialogue and discusses the merits of “the marriage of deliberation and dialogue.” Although the article focuses on the Study Circles process, it is a great introduction to public engagement processes and their principles. This is a very readable 19-page article that we highly recommend you take the time to read.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/DD_Expand.pdf

DemocracySpace.org

Launched in September 2007, The Study Circles Resource Center's blog is a place where community organizers and public officials can connect online to share news, views, and ideas. Those who have used Study Circles can use DemocracySpace as a place to post reports of your work, and everyone can use the blog to learn more about how people are using community engagement to create positive change? Stop here for news nuggets from across North America and around the world.

Resource Link: http://www.democracyspace.org

Dialogue for Affinity Groups

Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC), 2006.

A supplemental discussion guide intended to give people with similar racial or ethnic backgrounds an opportunity to talk with each other about issues of racism in sessions preceding and following the regular diverse dialogue sessions of a community-wide study circle program. These optional discussions are designed to be used with Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org/en/DiscussionGuides.aspx

Education: How Can Schools and Communities Work Together to Meet the Challenge? A Guide for Involving Community Members in Public Dialogue and Problem Solving (3rd Edition)

Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC), 1997.

A multiple-session discussion guide examining the challenges schools face and the ways in which citizens and educators can improve education.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org/en/DiscussionGuides.aspx

Evaluation: How Are Things Going?

Study Circles Resource Center.

This evaluation tool from the Study Circles Resource Center helps practitioners evaluate the facilitation component of a public dialogue process using the study circles model. Includes a range of tools such as evaluation of facilitator training, questions for checking in with facilitators, performance appraisal, and facilitator evaluation for participants.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/SCRC_Facilitation.pdf

Guide for Training Study Circle Facilitators Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Sarah Campbell, Writer/Managing Editor. Study Circles Resource Center.

This guide is designed to help you train study circle facilitators. Study circles--small-group, democratic, highly participatory discussions--provide settings for deliberation, for working through social and political issues, for coming up with action strategies, for connecting to policy making, and for building community.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org/en/HowTo.aspx

Helping Every Student Succeed: Schools and Communities Working Together

Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC), 2002.

A four-session discussion guide to help schools and communities improve academic achievement for all students.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org/en/DiscussionGuides.aspx

Mix It Up Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Launched in November 2002, the Study Circles Resource Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Mix It Up" campaign helps young people identify, question and cross social boundaries in their schools and communities. Hundreds of thousands of students in thousands of schools have taken the challenge to sit with someone new during Mix It Up At Lunch Day. Students and teachers are welcome to order the free Mix It Up handbook, Reaching Across Boundaries: Talk to Create Change.

Resource Link: http://www.mixitup.org

NCDD Commentary: Simplicity Circles, NewsNite, and Grocery Line Activism

Cecile Andrews. NCDD, 2003.

Cecile Andrews, author of The Circle of Simplicity, submitted this commentary for NCDD's website on September 20, 2003. In it Cecile explores how she started "Simplicity Circles," which are based on the Study Circles method, and the unexpected interactions that helped them take off.

Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Study Circles Resource Center, 2001.

A comprehensive guide to help you develop a community-wide study circle program from start to finish. Study Circles are at the heart of a process for public dialogue and community change. This process begins with community organizing, and is followed by facilitated, small-group dialogue that leads to a range of outcomes. Study circles don't advocate a particular solution. Instead, they welcome many points of view around a shared concern.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org

Reaching Across Boundaries: Talk to Create Change (2nd Edition) Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Study Circles Resource Center, 2003.

This free guidebook was developed for teens who are interested in discussing the cliques and social boundaries in their schools. It's part of the Mix It Up program, a partnership between the Study Circles Resource Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Helps young people identify, question, and cross social boundaries in their schools and communities with a Mix It Up Dialogue.

Resource Link: http://www.mixitup.org

Stories about Study Circle Programs Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Study Circles Resource Center, 2004-2006.

This series by journalist Julie Fanselow tells the stories of people who are using study circles to create real change in their communities. These printed 7x10 inch booklets, most of which are less than 10 pages long, are a great example of how dialogue programs can share their successes with decision-makers, citizens and clients. The booklets introduce the struggles and successes of study circles in Montgomery County, MD, Kansas City, KS, Kuna, ID, Springfield, IL and Vermont.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org/en/Brochures.aspx

Study Circles Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Part of a larger community program, a study circle is a group of 8 to 12 people from different backgrounds and viewpoints who meet several times to talk about a critical public issue. In a study circle, everyone has an equal voice, and people try to understand one another's views. They do not have to agree with one another. The idea is to share concerns and look for ways to make things better. A neutral facilitator helps the group look at different views and makes sure the discussion goes well.

Study Circles (general)

The study circle is a process for small-group deliberation about specific issues. Although the study circles fostered by the work of the Study Circles Resource Center are well-covered on NCDD's website, there are other types of study circles that are less well-known in the dialogue and deliberation community.

Study Circles Resource Center Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The Study Circles Resource Center is the primary project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. We help communities develop their own ability to solve problems by bringing lots of people together in dialogue across divides of race, income, age, and political viewpoints. The center works with neighborhoods, cities and towns, regions, and states, paying particular attention to the racial and ethnic dimensions of the problems they address. SCRC's website provides downloadable copies of many of their top-notch dialogue guides and other resources, and SCRC often offers organizing clinics and orientation workshops.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org

Teachers, Study Circles and the Racial Achievement Gap Highly Recommended

Catherine Orland. Capstone paper for the School for International Training (submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Arts in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations), 2006.

The subtitle of Orland's 76-page thesis is "How One Dialogue and Action Program Helped Teachers Integrate the Competencies of an Effective Multicultural Educator." Study Circles, a dialogue and action process, brings together teachers, parents and students from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to talk about the racial achievement gap. This study asks "How does the experience of participating in Study Circles bring teachers closer to integrating the competencies of the effective multicultural educator?"

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Orland-AchievementGap.doc

The Electronic Forum Handbook: Study Circles in Cyberspace

Pamela B. Kleiber, Ed.D., Margaret E. Holt, Ed.D., and Jill Dianne Swenson, Ph.D.. Study Circles Resource Center, 1999.

This handbook is based on the experience of moderators trained in face-to-face dialogue who experimented with an electronic version on the internet. Two classes - one at Ithaca College in New York and one at the University of Georgia - were paired for an electronic dialogue experience in 1994. The Handbook is based in part on Study Circles Resource Center materials.

Resource Link: http://www.cpn.org/tools/manuals/Networking/studycircles.html

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