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Summary of Final Day Survey Results

108 completed surveys out of 241 participants (45% response rate)

Conference Venue & Logistics

Respondents were asked to rate 9 conference features on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). 8 of the features were rated, on average, between good/above average (4) and excellent. One was rated between average (3) and good. Here are the features and their averaged ratings, in order of rating.

Feature (w/ Average Rating)

  • On-Site Registration & Check-in Process 4.58
  • Organizing Team Response to Logistics Issues 4.53
  • Overall Rating of Conference in Terms of Logistics 4.37
  • Conference Geographic Location 4.36
  • Pre-Conference Registration Process 4.31
  • Participant Handbook (the binder) 4.25
  • Quantity of Materials & Resources Available to Participants 4.18
  • Quality of Conference Resource Tables and Exhibits 4.03
  • Conference Setting & Facilities 3.75

Location & Timing of Future Conferences

Respondents were asked whether future NCDD conferences should move to new regions (50%) or continue to be held in the Washington, D.C. area (37%). They were also asked whether they would prefer a Friday through Sunday conference (44%), a Thursday through Saturday event (29%) or a weekday event (11%).

Conference Content

  • Break-out session topics and models seemed to represent the spectrum of dialogic and deliberative practice well. (4.09)
  • I plan to be active in the group I joined at the Next Steps Forum. (4.01)
  • The plenary sessions flowed well from one to the next. (3.84)
  • Overall, my own skills and knowledge were enhanced. (3.83)
  • I plan to contact some of the people I met here and possibly start collaborative projects with some of them. (3.76)
  • The plenary sessions utilized an adequate variety of dialogue and deliberation methodologies. (3.68)
  • Plenary (large-group) sessions were effective in finding ways to help the dialogue/deliberation community unite and develop. (3.57)
  • Throughout the conference, there was sufficient opportunity to improve skills in organizing dialogue/deliberation programs. (3.34)
  • Throughout the conference, there was sufficient opportunity to improve facilitation skills. (3.16)

Conference Goals

  • From my perspective, conference participants engaged with one another according to the Principles of the event. (4.18)
  • The conference began the work of developing an agenda and building an infrastructure to support the future activities of this network and the rest of the dialogue & deliberation community. (4.08)
  • The conference helped develop greater cohesion and community among practitioners, and built relationships within the field. (4.0)
  • Participants developed collective knowledge and shared considerable information. (4.0)
  • Collective insight emerged about the key questions in our field. (3.67)
  • Participants improved their skills in facilitating and organizing dialogic and deliberative processes. (3.36)

Additional Comments about Any of the Above

  • Overall this conference was highly successful and all of you need to be thanked for providing the space to come together. I am very encouraged that this beginning will go a long way towards developing both dialogue and deliberation. Thank you for all that you have done.
  • Try having just one large session for Plenary meetings. This is about dialogue and having many small groups may be workable but we miss a sense of togetherness that one large meeting could bring.

Participant?s Narrative

What, if any, key questions facing our field did the conference help participants to identify and/or begin addressing?

  • The question of identity. Who are we? What is dialogue and deliberation? Is it in fact a ?field? or a loose network? (34 people mentioned this)
  • Diversity/neutrality of the field and its practitioners. How do we involve and welcome ideological opponents ? specifically people with conservative viewpoints? (13 people)
  • How can we identify and ?sanction? the many models, and avoid infighting over authenticity? (8 people)
  • How can we link with grassroots and/or elected officials and public policymakers? How can we expand the circle? (6 people)
  • How do we move from dialogue/deliberation to action? (3 people)
  • The need for assessment and lessons. What is the impact of dialogue/deliberation? (3 people)

Did the conference meet your personal expectations?

92% of our respondents said that yes, the conference did meet their personal expectations (8% said no). Comments included:

  • There was not enough interaction; not enough actual dialogue (4 people said this)
  • There needs to be more varied subject matter and more skill levels (3 people said this ? they mentioned too much of a focus on race, too much emphasis on academic topics, and too high of a skill level)
  • There was too much variety; there needs to be more focus (1 person said this)

What do you think was the best feature of the conference?

  • The people, and the spirit in the room (19 people said this)
  • The workshops and the variety of offerings (19)
  • Networking with colleagues (16)
  • The plenary sessions (11)
  • The diversity of the participants (10)
  • Conference content (9)
  • Learning/seeing new models (8)
  • Conference organization and planning (8)
  • The whole conference (5)
  • The materials provided (4)
  • The accommodations (3)

Additional responses were: the consensus/group decision making, opportunities for dialogue, freedom of choice, and St. Anger?s artwork.

What do you think was the worst feature of the conference?

  • Time/schedule (primarily the tight schedule and too-short sessions) (41)
  • The plenary sessions (7)
  • The site/logistics (7)
  • Not enough opportunities to actually engage in dialogue (6)
  • Not enough minority representation (5)
  • Lack of different perspectives (3)
  • Lots of ?talking at?/selling ideas (3)
  • Academic emphasis (2)
  • Unresolved issues (2)
  • Participant hypersensitivity (2)

Additional responses: Some moderators dominated; unfocused breakout sessions; some presenters were not as described.

If you discussed or developed any new partnerships or collaborations with other conference participants, please share with us what you will or may be doing.

We were ecstatic to see that 57 respondents (out of 108) indicated that they had begun exploring the possibility of partnering or working collaboratively with other conference participants. Here are some exciting examples of what conference participants were considering:

  • "A group of us plan to get together to develop some integrated dialogic models, combining the models we experienced at the Conference."
  • "I intend to collaborate with several area colleagues to organize a statewide (Connecticut) dialogue summit on child care."
  • "Several of us plan to form a consortium to promote/use dialogue on college campuses."
  • "I met representatives from several agencies with whom I intend to develop dialogues on race relations on both the East and West coasts."
  • "A group of us are going to help each other with some local work, and then collaborate on some national research."
  • "A few of us are forming a 'Deliberation on the ground' group, which will develop some experimental programs."
  • "I plan to collaborate with new colleagues to write an article on Deliberative Democracy in a leading Green Party
  • publication."
  • "I have several potential regional partnerships, and great resources (the handbook) with which to develop them. Thank You!"

Some of the organizations which were identified by respondents as potential partners were:

  • The Center for Disease Control
  • The University of Michigan
  • Community Mediation Board
  • The Forum Foundation
  • The Green Party
  • Jewish & Palestinian Communities
  • The Kettering Foundation
  • Local Governments
  • MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and By the People
  • The JFK School of Government
  • University of Southern California
  • Local mosques/Muslim community
  • Urban Bush Women
  • Specialty/Arts Organizations
  • Youth Groups & Senior Centers

Are you likely to attend the next National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation?

85% said that yes, they would be likely to attend the next conference. 11% said maybe, and 4% said no.

How would you rate your overall Conference experience on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being excellent)?

Our average response was 4.21.

Additional Comments

Most people said one of two things:

  • This conference was a very important step in the advancement of dialogue and deliberation. (43 people)
  • Thank you! (51 people)

Additional Evaluation Information:

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Last Updated:? June 17, 2003.