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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.

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The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict Highly Recommended

Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

The award-winning first edition of The Promise of Mediation is a landmark classic that changed the field's understanding of the theory and practice of conflict intervention. The volume first articulated the 'transformative model' of mediation, which greatly humanized the vision of how the mediation process could help parties in conflict. In the past decade, the transformative model has proved itself and gained increasing acceptance.

The Quickening of America: Rebuilding our Nation, Remaking our Lives Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Frances Moore Lappe and Paul Martin Du Bois. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers, 1994.

This book reveals how a new citizen-driven approach to solving community problems is working - in local government, education, the workplace, human services and the media. The authors criss-crossed America in search of democracy in action and found moving stories of ordinary people coming together to make their institutions meet their needs.

The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers, and Coaches, 2nd Edition Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Roger M. Schwarz. Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2002.

When it was published in 1994, Roger Schwarz's The Skilled Facilitator earned widespread critical acclaim and became a landmark in the field. The book is a classic work for consultants, facilitators, managers, leaders, trainers, and coaches--anyone whose role is to facilitate and guide groups toward realizing their creative and problem-solving potential. This thoroughly revised edition provides essential materials for facilitators and includes simple but effective ground rules for group interaction.

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The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Tom Atlee.

How can we generate the collective wisdom to creatively address our 21st century problems, opportunities and dreams? The Tao of Democracy offers hundreds of ideas and tools to heal and transform the world, including new forms of activism, citizenship and politics; ways to bring wisdom to politics and governance; and powerful approaches to collaboration, dialogue and deliberation.

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The Triangle of Engagement: An Unusual Way of Looking at the Usual Suspects Highly Recommended

John May. Public Money and Management 27 (1), 69–75., 2007.

This paper, written primarily for practitioners and commissioners of public participation and community engagement, introduces the "Triangle of Engagement," which postulates that the higher the level of engagement required from participants, the fewer people there are who are willing or able to make this commitment. Some of the implications of this model for the practice of public participation are then considered.

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The Understanding Process Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Experience has demonstrated that the Understanding Process is valuable as a mode of prevention as well as intervention in existing conflicts and is being used effectively in: improving public conversations about controversial issues, team and community building, leadership development, creative approaches to problems and issues, and working with groups as well as interpersonal dyadic communication.

The Whitman Institute Highly Recommended

A private foundation located in San Francisco, TWI promotes open-mindedness, cross-perspective dialogue, and engaged communication to improve the process and quality of public and private decision-making. Our ultimate goals are to broaden the public conversation about the importance of critical and collaborative thinking and to link that deepened awareness to effect individual and social change.

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The World Café Listserv Highly Recommended

The World Cafe.

This listserv is focused on creating a community of dialogic practice based on the Principles of the World Cafe.

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Thinking About Governance: A Draft Discussion Paper Highly Recommended

Miriam Wyman, Practicum Limited. Prepared for The Commonwealth Foundation Citizens and Governance Programme, 2001.

This 54-page paper explores a range of thinking on government and governance and the stakeholders or partners in it. It examines citizens' perspectives on governance as well as the roles that citizens can, and are willing to play in civil society. It then identifies issues, questions and challenges that arise from the literature and which limit or constrain citizens' involvement in governance. A range of principles and tools are set out which can help actualise citizens' roles in governance. The paper concludes with ways to further develop discussion and understanding of governance in order to move toward genuinely participatory governance.

Resource Link: Great for Beginners Highly Recommended 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. 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.

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Thriving Communities: Working together to move from poverty to prosperity for all Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Study Circles Resource Center.

The fact that no community can succeed when some or most of its residents are in poverty spurred the creation of this discussion guide. Developed jointly by the Study Circles Resource Center and the Northwest Area Foundation, the guide is designed to help communities involve people in conversations that lead to community change. Field tested in 16 communities by more than 500 participants, the five-session discussion guide helps people look at poverty in their community and discuss what it looks like, why it exists, and what can and should be done about it.

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Tip Sheet on Dialogue Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Elisabeth Díaz, United Nations Development Programme.

This 7-page tip sheet provides a basic introduction to the concept of dialogue. It also outlines the main elements defining dialogue as an approach and as a process, its key applications and the practical implications for programming. The tip sheet is aimed at practitioners, program managers in aid agencies and civil society organizations who may wish to promote or organize dialogue processes. It also seeks to be useful to all individuals and organizations concerned with development and peace-building from bilateral and multilateral donors or in a partner country.

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Together We Can Highly Recommended

Together We Can is the U.K. government campaign to bring government and people closer together, encouraging public bodies to do more to enable people to influence local decisions. The Together We Can website provides information about sources of help including organisations, sources of funding, and advice. As it grows it will provide case studies to show how issues have been successfully tackled throughout the U.K. and give links to research and reports that help explain what works and why. It also aims to provide easy access to government policy documents, which can provide valuable insight into the programmes and initiatives being promoted by government departments and their partners.

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Tools to Support Participatory Urban Decision Making Highly Recommended

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS Habitat), 2001.

Over many years, experience has shown that cities find it useful to involve a broad range of stakeholders including the often marginalised groups in urban decision-making. Such participatory processes have yielded far reaching results in alleviating poverty and improving the living conditions in the urban environment. A wide range of participatory decision support tools have as a result been developed and practised. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), through its various regional and international programmes working with cities, has been part of this experience, participating in the development, refining and application of these tools. This 156-page toolkit is part of the Urban Governance Toolkit Series.

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Towards the Construction of a Dialogue Typology Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Elena Díez-Pinto, United Nations Development Programme.

A diagnostic and organizational tool for those seeking a deeper understanding of diverse dialogue experiences. This 12-page working document categorizes dialogues according to purpose (what dialogues intend to achieve), context (under what conditions dialogues unfold) and outputs (what dialogues produce).

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Trainer's Manual: Getting The Most Out Of Consensus Processes Highly Recommended

Chris Carlson, Policy Consensus Institute.

This Trainer's Manual, designed as a "workshop for public officials," provides essential information for any individual, agency or organization that participates in a collaborative process. The workshop is presented in eight modules, each covering an aspect of what has been found to be the "best practices" in participating in a collaborative or consensus building process. It is based on the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) Report, "Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Agreement-Seeking Processes."

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Transformative Framework Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The transformative framework was first articulated by Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger in The Promise of Mediation in 1994. Since then, transformative theory and practice has grown and is used in mediation, facilitation, and conflict management training all over the world.

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U.S. Consensus Council Highly Recommended

In April 2003, legislation was introduced in Congress to establish the United States Consensus Council (USCC), which would serve the nation by promoting consensus-based solutions to important national legislative policy issues. The USCC would convene the stakeholders on a given issue and seek to build 'win/win' agreements - those that reach the highest common denominator among the parties.

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Understanding Deliberativeness: Bridging Theory and Practice Highly Recommended

Janette Hartz-Karp. International Journal for Public Participation, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 2007.

Principles of deliberation developed by theorists are seldom tempered by the experience practitioners in the field have acquired. Drawing on several case studies of deliberative democratic initiatives in Western Australia, this paper seeks to highlight areas where theory and practice meet and diverge. Theoretical concepts of egalitarian processes, reasoned deliberation, consensus/common ground, and influence provide the framework for discussion. The paper offers lessons learned about deliberation, representation, and influence using different deliberative techniques. Concomitantly, it poses questions requiring further research.

Understanding ‘Abnormal’ Public Discourses: Some Overlapping and Distinguishing Features of Dialogue and Deliberation Highly Recommended

Todd Kelshaw. International Journal for Public Participation, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 2007.

‘Dialogue’ and ‘deliberation’ are terms that have been invoked with increasing frequency during the emergence of the historically recent ‘participatory’ and ‘deliberative’ democratic movements. In this context, dialogue and deliberation constitute ‘abnormal’ -- i.e., non-traditional or atypical -- kinds of talk. Unfortunately, in public meetings, community forums, and other ‘spaces’ in which democratic public discourse occurs (or is expected to occur), the meanings and applications of the terms are often conflated. This 22-page paper offers definitions that highlight where dialogue and deliberation overlap and where they differ. The author's goal with this article is to assist organisers, facilitators, and participants use the terms in ways that are clear, consistent, and productive.

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