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Most Highly Recommended Resources

These resources are recommended highly by NCDD for many reasons. Some are highly regarded by practitioners or scholars. Some have caused a buzz in the field. Some have proven themselves to be highly effective when put into practice. And some are just the best resources of their kind. As these distinctions are highly subjective, we are open to your feedback and ideas for other resources we should recommend.

Here are all of the resources in this category that NCDD recommends most highly.

Art, Dialogue, Action, Activism: Case Studies from Animating Democracy Highly Recommended

Americans for the Arts' Animating Democracy Initiative, 2005.

This 114-page book opens with an essay by Detroit-based activist, cultural worker, and nonagenarian, Grace Lee Boggs. The book’s case studies feature projects by the Council for the Arts of Greater Lima and Sojourn Theatre on longstanding issues of race and trust among city and county leaders, Los Angeles Poverty Department on the advent of crack in the United States and drug policy reform, The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center on engaging disenfranchised people in dialogue and action on current issues of cultural equity and democracy, and Out North Contemporary Art House on the role of same-sex couples in society.

Resource Link: http://americans4thearts.stores.yahoo.net/noname.html

Boston Prochoice and Prolife Leaders Dialogue Highly Recommended

The Public Conversations Project.

Read about PCP's groundbreaking 7-year abortion dialogue involving pro-choice and pro-life leaders in the Boston area. PCP has been doing dialogue work with Prochoice and Prolife activists and others since 1989.

Resource Link: http://www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?ref_id=97

Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform Highly Recommended

The unique Citizens’ Assembly process was pioneered in British Columbia (Canada) in 2004. The process gathered a randomly-selected group of voters together over the course of a year to learn about electoral systems, conduct public hearings, and spend an extended amount of time deliberating about what new electoral system (if any) should replace the existing one. Ontario is following the BC process pretty closely. The Ontario Assembly will meet in three phases: a learning phase, a public hearing phase, and a deliberation phase. The Assembly is empowered to craft a recommendation for a new electoral system that will be put directly to a public referendum....

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.

Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance Highly Recommended

Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright. Verso Press, 2003.

This book presents case studies which demonstrate how people are inventing new political forms that realize the deeper democratic ideal of government of, by and for the people. The four contemporary cases explore the participatory budgeting process in Porto Alegre; decentralized school councils and community policing groups in Chicago; stakeholder planning in environmental protection and habitat management; and new participatory governance structures in Kerala, India.

Resource Link: http://www.archonfung.net

Democratic Dilemmas: Joint Work, Education Politics, and Community Highly Recommended

Julie A. Marsh. SUNY Press (SUNY series, School Districts: Research, Policy, and Reform), 2007.

This 228-page book written by policy researcher Julie Marsh explores ways to engage citizens in the process of educational improvement. The book highlights the inherent tensions of deliberative democracy, competing notions of representation, limitations of current conceptions of educational accountability, and the foundational importance of trust to democracy and education reform. It further provides a framework for improving community-educator collaboration and lessons for policy and practice.

Resource Link: http://www.sunypress.edu/details.asp?id=61456

Digital Dialogues Interim Report Highly Recommended

This important report outlines the Hansard Society's independent investigation into the use of online technologies to promote dialogue between central government in the U.K. and the public. Digital Dialogues presents overviews, data and guidance built around case studies. It has been written principally for government but it is also worthwhile reading for academics, journalists, practitioners and, of course, citizens. This is the interim report from the Digital Dialogues initiative. In March 2007 we will begin our end of initiative report and will make our recommendations the following May.

Resource Link: http://www.digitaldialogues.org.uk

Embedded Deliberation: Entrepreneurs, Organizations, and Public Action Highly Recommended

Elena Fagotto and Archon Fung. Final Report for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, submitted by the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. April 14, 2006.

This very meaty 151-page final report to the Hewlett Foundation includes detailed case studies on West Virginia’s National Issues Forums, Public Deliberation in South Dakota, Public Deliberation in Hawai’i, and Connecticut’s Community Conversations about Education. Elena Fagotto presented a workshop on her research at NCDD's 2006 conference called "Embedded Deliberation: Moving from Deliberation to Action." She decided to share the report with the NCDD community since many of her workshop participants requested it.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/FagottoFung-EmbedDelib.pdf

From Diatribe to Dialogue on Divisive Public Issues: Approaches Drawn from Family Therapy Highly Recommended

Richard Chasin, Margaret Herzig, Sallyann Roth, Laura Chasin, and Robert R. Stains Jr.. Mediation Quarterly, Volume 13, 4, 323-344, 1996.

A comprehensive overview of the Public Conversation Project's general approach, this article draws case examples from four different subprojects and it makes explicit the connections between PCP's principles and practices and ideas and methods drawn from family therapy.

Resource Link: http://www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resources/resource_detail.asp?ref_id=61

From Stuck Debate to New Conversation on Controversial Issues: A Report from the Public Conversations Project Highly Recommended

Carol Becker, Laura Chasin, Richard Chasin, Margaret Herzig and Sallyann Roth. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 7 (1-2), 143-163, 1995.

This article presents the four guiding objectives of PCP's work and describes practices that support each of those objectives, drawing case examples from their introductory dialogues on abortion.

Resource Link: http://www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resources/resource_detail.asp?ref_id=69

Intergroup Dialogue: Deliberative Democracy in School, College, Community and Workplace Highly Recommended

David Schoem and Sylvia Hurtado. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001.

A comprehensive overview of intergroup dialogue which includes 12 in-depth case studies, critical perspectives and the foundation of dialogue in democratic theory. Each of the case studies, which are drawn from leading organizations in the dialogue field, present the program's rationale, an account of its successes, and evaluation data.

Mapping Dialogue: A research project profiling dialogue tools and processes for social change Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

German Technical Co-Operation (GTZ) and Pioneers of Change. Johannesburg, South Africa, 2006.

This research project was commissioned by GTZ as part of their supporting the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) to explore ways in which dialogue can be used to address social challenges in South Africa. During and since South Africa’s transition to democracy, Nelson Mandela has exhibited a formidable ability to forgive and suspend judgment, along with an awareness of the importance of listening to all sides. Pioneers of Change was asked in this context to map out a variety of approaches, and to provide an overview, case examples and commentary on each.

Resource Link: http://pioneersofchange.net/library/dialogue/Dialogue%20Project%20V%202.0c.pdf

NCDD Commentary: Inviting or Excluding? Evaluating Our Way of Being Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

John Engle, The Experiment in Alternative Leadership. Engle, 2003.

John Engle submitted this commentary for NCDD's website on December 7, 2003. John is the co-founder of Beyond Borders and The Experiment in Alternative Leadership and board member of the Open Space Institute USA. In this commentary, John openly discusses his work with the Open Space method in Haiti.

Resource Link: http://www.theexperiment.info

Participatory Budgeting in Brazil: Contestation, Cooperation, and Accountability Highly Recommended

Brian Wampler. Penn State University Press, 2007.

In this first rigorous comparative study of participatory budgeting in Brazil, Wampler draws evidence from eight municipalities in Brazil to show the varying degrees of success and failure PB has experienced. He identifies why some PB programs have done better than others in achieving the twin goals of ensuring governmental accountability and empowering citizenship rights for the poor residents of these cities in the quest for greater social justice and a well-functioning democracy. Most scholarly literature on Brazil's experiments in participatory budgeting has focused on the successful case of Porto Alegre and has neglected to analyze how it fared elsewhere. Wampler is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boise State University.

Resource Link: http://www.psupress.psu.edu/books/titles/978-0-271-03252-8.html

Putting "Public" Back in Public Health Work Highly Recommended

Doug Thompson and Don Greenstein. The Keystone Center, 2007.

Experts say chances of a deadly worldwide outbreak of pandemic flu are increasing. In order to involve the public in developing plans for how the government would react to such an outbreak, the CDC held four public meetings to hear public views about possible community control measures that could limit the outbreak. This report outlines and evaluates this award-winning project, which sought to put the "public" in public health by effectively allowing people to participate in policy development.

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

The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement Highly Recommended

Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, and Jennifer Thomas-Larmer. Sage Publications, 1999.

Whether you work in the corporate world, a nonprofit organization, or the government sector, you are likely face the need to work with others to solve problems and make decisions on a daily basis. And you've undoubtedly been frustrated by how laborious and conflict-ridden such group efforts can be. At all levels from neighborhood block associations to boards of directors of multinational corporations, the consensus building process is highly effective in an increasingly fragmented, contentious society. In addition, the old top-down methods such as Roberts Rules of Orders often prompt more problems then they solve.

The Next Form of Democracy: How Expert Rule Is Giving Way to Shared Governance... and Why Politics Will Never Be the Same Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Matt Leighninger. Vanderbilt University Press, 2006.

Beneath the national radar, the relationship between citizens and government is undergoing a dramatic shift. More than ever before, citizens are educated, skeptical, and capable of bringing the decision-making process to a sudden halt. Public officials and other leaders are tired of confrontation and desperate for resources. In order to address persistent challenges like education, race relations, crime prevention, land use planning, and economic development, communities have been forced to find new ways for people and public servants to work together. The stories of civic experiments in this book can show us the realpolitik of deliberative democracy, and illustrate how the evolution of democracy is already reshaping politics.

The Ok Tedi Negotiations: Rebalancing the Equation in a Chronic Sustainability Dilemma Highly Recommended

Peter S. Adler, Janesse Brewer, and Caelan McGee. The Keystone Center. August 24, 2007.

Between November 2005 and June 2007, a team from The Keystone Center helped organize and implement a multiparty negotiation process aimed at increased redress for people affected by river contamination from the Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Ok Tedi is often cited as one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in the world. It is also a true sustainability dilemma. The mine produces 20% of PNG’s gross domestic product but it has also disrupted the traditional food webs and lives of more than 50,000 people by putting 90,000 tons of rock waste and tailings per day into the Fly River system. Download the 34-page report directly from the NCDD website.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Keystone-OkTedi.pdf

Thirdside.org Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Thirdside.org is sponsored by the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard University. The idea of the Third Side and the initial content of this website are drawn from Bill Ury's book The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop. Thirdside.org offers numerous tools for negotiation, including high school and college curriculua, workshop facilitators' guides, Third Side stories and case studies, and a variety of exercises.

Resource Link: http://thirdside.org/

© 2003-2008 National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.
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