Top D&D Guides and other How-To Resources

Below are some of the best guides, manuals and how-to books available for people doing dialogue and deliberation work. The resources are categorized into four subjects and listed by organization (or author's name, when no organizational affiliation is known).

Organizing and Facilitating D&D

The American Assembly - The National Dialogue

Conducting Your Community Dialogue Manual. 2002. Columbia University.

This manual provides the essential tools needed to conduct a Uniting America community dialogue: ways for defining your community, for choosing a format and for creating discussion questions. Download at

Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN)

Public Dialogue: A Tool for Citizen Engagement, A Manual for Federal Departments and Agencies. 2000.

This 56-page guidebook is based on the lessons learned from The Society We Want, a national public dialogue project of the Canadian Policy Research Networks. Download at

Jim Rough facilitating a Wisdom Council using the Dynamic Facilitation technique.

The Center for Wise Democratic Processes

A Dynamic Facilitation Manual and Reader: Evoking practical group creativity through generative dialogue. Zubizarreta, Rosa and Jim Rough. 2002.

This spiral-bound manual describes a transformational approach for facilitating dialogue in situations where people are highly invested, emotionally charged or polarized, and helping groups arrive at practical and creative breakthroughs. Published by the Center for Wise Democratic Processes, the manual can be ordered from Jim Rough and Associates by emailing .

The Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice

Community Dialogue Guide. 2002.

The Community Relations Service which assists communities with crisis management and violence reduction, provides this and many other freely downloadable publications at

Educators for Social Responsibility

Dialogue: Turning Controversy into Community. Benson, Jeffrey, and Rachel Poliner.

This curriculum helps secondary students develop an image of dialogue and the skills to participate in dialogue by engaging in a case study of a school and town caught in a polarizing controversy. The curriculum includes connections to literature and social studies, is well-suited for English or history teachers, as well as student government or debate team advisors. Available at

Future Search

Future Search: An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground in Organizations and Communities. Weisbord, Marvin and Sandra Janoff. 1995. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

This book describes a step-by-step process for planning and leading a Future Search conference, where diverse community members come together to envision and plan their shared future.

Gambone, James.

Together for Tomorrow: Building Community Through Intergenerational Dialogue. 2001. Crystal Bay, MN.

A book and guide on conducting intergenerational dialogues. $29.95 ($4.00 S&H). To order, call 1-800-586-9054 or send check to Elder Eye Press, PO Box 142, Crystal Bay, MN 55323 USA.

Greek Summit - Sponsor: NASPA's Fraternity/Sorority Knowledge Community

Day of Dialogue: A community conversation about alcohol.

Provides a model for discussing issues related to alcohol and alcohol-free housing. Contact Tisa Mason, NASPA Day of Dialogue Committee Chair, at .

The Harwood Institute

Making It Real: How to Make Civic Engagement a Public Sensibility. 2003.

Making it Real offers seven ways for public leaders and organizations to infuse civic engagement practices throughout their public work. The workbook presents stories of success and provides concrete tools and actions to help leaders to tap the talent and energy within a community to bring new life into a community organization; discover common ground among organizations in order to work more effectively together; set ground rules that encourage people to listen as well as engage; ssk new questions that create new possibilities, and more. To purchase a copy ($35), go to

The Harwood Institute

Telling Stories of Self-Trust and Hope: A Tool for Engaging Youth in Community Change. 2003.

Change happens in communities when people change the story they tell about themselves and others. Stories of self-trust and hope help us to see the community and ourselves differently. This kit helps get youth telling their stories - to each other, to the community, to themselves. To purchase a copy, go to

Holman, Peggy and Tom Devane, editors

The Change Handbook: Group Methods for Shaping the Future. 1999. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

An introduction to large-group methods for participatory planning and redesign. While many of these methods have originated in corporate settings, they are also applicable to communities.

Hope in the Cities

Community Resource Manual. Richmond, VA: Hope in the Cities. 1997.

This manual taps into the powerful grassroots movement to heal racial division through community-based dialogue. Focuses on a proven process emphasizing honest words and effective action by teams of people of all races, many faiths and diverse political views. Offers case studies and specific principles that can be adapted by dialogue organizers to meet local needs. $30. Email or call 804-358-1764 for ordering info.

The Kettering Foundation

Making Choices Together: The Power of Public Deliberation. Mathews, David and Noelle McAfee. 2002.

This 40-page booklet provides an introduction to the practice of public deliberation; basic tips for developing deliberative democracy programs in communities using National Issues Forums materials; and guidance to further resources. Download at or order from Ruffolo for $3.00 by emailing or calling 1-800-600-4060.

Michigan Chapter of Psychologists for Social Responsibility

Us and Them. Fabick, Stephen Dillon. 1998.

MI PsySR's US & THEM: The Challenge of Diversity program is a community education project which fosters positive tolerance. A presenter's manual, also called Us and Them, was designed for use by psychologists and other professionals interested in promoting intergroup understanding, reconciliation and cooperation. Includes lecture formats, overheads, exercises and discussion guides in three-ring binder for easy duplication. $25 plus $5 shipping.

National Civic League

Involving Citizens in Community Decision Making: A Guidebook, 2nd Edition. Creighton, James L.

This public participation manual focuses specifically on the community level of public decision making. The author based this comprehensive "how-to" guide on many years of professional experience designing and implementing public participation programs. Creighton takes the reader from the basics through practical issues such as designing, staffing, and evaluating public participation programs, preparing a public participation plan, and utilizing specific implementation techniques. Can be ordered from NCL for $35.

National Issues Forum

National Issues Forum Starter Kit.

By offering citizens a framework for deliberative forums, the NIF network helps the public take an active role in policy decision making. The NIF Starter Kit includes the Public Policy Institute Guide, a summary of NIF's discussion guides, a moderator guide, and a network contact list. To order the kit, email Ruffolo at or call 800-600-4060. For more info, go to NIF also distributes such deliberation guides as Racial and Ethnic Tensions: What Should We Do? (2000) and Violent Kids: Can We Change The Trend? (2000).

National Youth Employment Coalition

Voices of Diversity Dialogue Guide. The Youth Advisory Council. 2002.

A guide to assist schools and program staff in facilitating dialogues on institutional racism with young people. Download at

Ojai Foundation

The Way of Council. Zimmerman, Jack, with Virginia Coyle. 1996. Ojai, CA: Bramble Books.

The Council process was inspired by Native American traditions, Quaker meetings, extended family gatherings and many contemporary techniques of group dynamics. This book includes numerous stories that convey the spirit of the process, as well as practical guidance for conducting council in a variety of settings and situations.

Conference participants at the Open Space "Practice of Peace" conference in November 2003 preparing to post their sessions.

Open Space Institute

Open Space Technology: A User's Guide. Owen, Harrison. 1997. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Open Space Technology is a simple and accessible way to help groups self-design their own conferences, with a minimum of advance preparation and a maximum of rich interpersonal dialogue and connections.

Peacebuilders International

Peacemaking Circles: From Crime to Community. Pranis, Kay, Barry Stuart and Mark Wedge. 2003. Living Justice Press: St. Paul, Minnesota.

This book provides an overview of how peacemaking circles can be used with the justice system as a form of restorative justice. Includes numerous stories and guidelines to support the work that many pioneering community members and criminal justice professionals are doing around the world to explore a more healing, constructive response to crime.

Pew Partnership for Civic Change

Building Deliberative Communities. Briand, Michael.

A 36-page report introduces the role deliberation can play in creating new opportunities for communities to work together in more productive ways. Available at

President Clinton's Initiative on Race

One America Dialogue Guide: Conducting a Discussion on Race. 1998. Washington, DC: One America In the 20th Century/President Clinton's Initiative on Race.

This guide provides a simple but effective model for dialogue and some good resources. The various One America resources (the dialogue guide, the Advisory Board's report to President Clinton, the promising practices, etc.) are archived at:

Project Adventure

Please Talk With Me: A Guide to Teen-Adult Dialogue. Gaetano, Ronald J., Jim Grout, and Mary Klassen-Landis. 1990. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

A hands-on guide to running 'Dialogue Nights' - sessions that encourage teens and adults to listen and learn from each other. $14.95. Dialogue Nights have been used successfully with a wide range of adult/adolescent groups. More info at:

Public Conversations Project

Constructive Conversations for Challenging Times: A Guide for Home and Community Dialogue. 2001. Watertown, MA: Public Conversations Project.

A 38-page guide to convening and facilitating constructive conversations about the events of September 11 and all that has happened since. Available in PDF and MS Word format at

Public Forum Institute

Community Resource Guide.

If you feel that your community would benefit from public dialogue on a specific issue, the Public Forum Institute would like to help you plan, promote and produce your own forum. Tips on organizing a community forum on a shoestring budget are also found on the website.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Study Circles Resource Center

Reaching Across Boundaries: Talk to Create Change (2nd Edition). 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. To order a free Mix It Up Handbook, go to or

Study Circles Resource Center

Various Discussion Guides & Manuals

SCRC has produced discussion guides on numerous topics (education, race relations, criminal justice, immigration, etc.) as well as practitioner resources such as "A Guide for Training Study Circle Facilitators" (1998) and "Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change" (2001). Download these and many other guides for free at or complete the order form at

Study Circles Resource Center

The Electronic Forum Handbook: Study Circles in Cyberspace. Kleiber, Pamela B., Ed.D., Margaret E. Holt, Ed.D., and Jill Dianne Swenson, Ph.D.

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.

Valeo Initiative, The Living Dialogue National Demonstration Project

The Living Dialogue on Health and Care - Facilitator's Guide & Starter Kit. 2001, Corte Madera, CA.

Based on Appreciative Inquiry, these include a guidebook for conducting workshops on the living dialogue and a guide to organizing a dialogue. For more information, email or go to

Wesorick, B. and L. Shiparksi

Can the human being thrive in the work place? Dialogue as a strategy of hope. 1997. Michigan: Practice Field Publishing.

An excellent resource for those working with groups which are new to dialogue. It includes strategies and stories that show ways to introduce and go deeper into the use of dialogue in the workplace.

Whitney, Diana and Amanda Trosten-Bloom

The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change. Whitney, Diana and Amanda Trosten-Bloom (foreward by David Cooperrider). 2003. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

The Power of Appreciative Inquiry is a comprehensive and practical guide to using AI for strategic large-scale change. Written by pioneers in the field, the book provides detailed examples along with practical guidance for using AI in an organizational setting. To order, go to or call 415-288-0260 or 1-800-929-2929. The book is $27.95.

Wisdom Circles

Wisdom Circles: A Guide to Self-Discovery and Community Building in Small Groups. Garfield, Charles, Cindy Spring and Sedonia Cahill. 1998. New York, NY: Hyperion.

Shows readers how to form their own wisdom circles with friends and community members based on ten simple guidelines. The wisdom circle serves many purposes: it is a place to practice communication skills, to heal wounds, to find the courage to act upon that small voice within, to share a vision or define a mission. Readers learn how to open and close the circle, how to mutually agree upon a topic or intention, and how to create a safe space for truth telling.

The World Caf?

A Resource Guide for Hosting Conversations That Matter at the World Caf?. 2002.

This guide details how to use the six principles of the World Caf? in designing and organizing Caf? conversations. Download at

Working With Diverse Groups

Abu-Nimer, Mohammed

Reconciliation, Justice, and Coexistence: Theory and Practice. 2001. Lexington Books.

Abu-Nimer provides lessons and insights for post-settlement peacebuilders. Essays focus on the conflict dynamics in regions such as Northern Ireland, Israel-Palestine, South Africa and Rwanda. To order, contact Lexington Books (800-462-6420 or

Adams, Maurianne, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors

Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. 1997. New York, NY: Routledge.

Addresses the need to facilitate communication and understanding between members of diverse social groups. It provides a unified framework by which students can engage and critically analyze several forms of social oppression and discrimination.

Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice

Police Use of Excessive Force: A Conciliation Handbook for the Police and the Community.

This 38-page handbook was developed by the Community Relations Service, which assists communities with crisis management and violence reduction. Go to to download this and other excellent documents.

Hope in the Cities

Connecting Communities. Greisdorf, Karen E. and Robert L. Corcoran. 2001.

Connecting Communities reflects the accumulated experience of Hope in the Cities and some of its partner organizations nationally and internationally. It features key lessons and insights from people working in the field of racial reconciliation, a guide to organizing an intergroup dialogue on race, and much more. Email or call 804-358-1764. $15.

The Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies

Steps Toward an Inclusive Community. Potapchuk, Maggie. 2001.

The 91-page book begins with the story of how Clarksburg, WV responded to a KKK rally by conducting a counter-rally which, in turn, led to the Clarksburg Unity Project. The latter part of the book includes a tool to help predominately white, moderate-sized towns assess their process of becoming inclusive. It also includes suggestions for next steps based on a community's current inclusivity stage. Go to and click on "Social Policy."

National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI)

Healing Into Action: A Leadership Guide for Creating Diverse Communities. Brown, Cherie R. and George J. Mazza. 1997.

This guide contains exercises and principles developed by the National Coalition Building Institute to create diverse and inclusive environments.

Schoem, David, Linda Frankel, Zimena Z??iga, and Edith A. Lewis

Multicultural Teaching in the University. 1995. Westport, CT: Praeger.

This anthology includes articles on intergroup relations courses and programs. It also includes valuable information about training teachers and facilitators of intergroup dialogues and learning, and examples of effective classroom and workshop exercises.

Community Building

The Asset-Based Community Development Institute

Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets. Kretzmann, John P. and John L. McKnight. 1993. Evanston, IL: the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research.

Building Communities from the Inside Out guides readers to a new, asset-based approach to community building that proves everyone has a gift to share. The book offers practical advice, helpful tools, and powerful stories that help us see communities in new ways - as treasure troves of talent. Kretzmann and McKnight's front-line experience working with neighborhoods across America has created a vital tool for transforming city blocks into neighborhoods and isolated residents into change agents.

Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change

A Community Builder's Tool Kit: 15 Tools for Creating Healthy, Productive Interracial/Multicultural Communities. 2001.

This primer for revitalizing democracy from the ground up can be downloaded for free or ordered for $1.50 per copy (plus shipping & handling) from

Mattessich, Paul, Ph.D. and Barbara Monsy, M.P.H.

Community Building: What Makes it Work; A Review of Factors Influencing Successful Community Building. 1997. Saint Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.

Reveals 28 factors that are key to successful community building. Nonprofit groups, funders, politicians, schools, and community residents all realize the importance of building their community - making it a safer, friendlier, or healthier place to live and work. This book can be used by these and other community builders to enhance their community initiatives.

Morse, Suzanne W.

Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future. 2004.

Based on the results of more than a decade of research by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, which Morse directs, Smart Communities provides directions for strategic decision-making and outlines the key strategies used by thousands of leaders who have worked to create successful communities. Smart Communities offers leaders the tools they need to create a better future for all the community ?s citizens. Using illustrative examples from communities around the country (including examples of dialogue & deliberation), Smart Communities shows how these change agents? well-structured decision-making processes can be traced to their effective use of seven key leverage points.

National Civic League

Facing Racial and Cultural Conflict: Tools for Rebuilding Community, 2nd Edition. Schoene, Lester P., Jr. and Marcelle E. DuPraw. 1994. Washington, DC: National Civic League.

This publication offers an assortment of tools that can be used to bring people together and help channel intergroup conflict in productive directions. The techniques presented range from proactive initiatives to incident-specific responses. Emphasis is given to collaborative problem solving, but the authors discuss such topics as the role of the community leader in a conflict situation, grassroots initiatives, and educational programs.Go to for this and other great publications.

National Civic League

Civic Index: Measuring Your Community's Civic Health, 2nd Edition. 1999.

This revised edition of the Civic Index is a 12-point community self-evaluation tool. The Civic Index assesses what the National Civic League calls civic infrastructure (the characteristics that communities possess to effectively solve problems). Whether the challenges being faced are economic development, low-income housing, transportation planning, or any other, the healthy functioning of the 12 components of the Civic Index is vital for success. $23. Go to for this and other great publications.

Senge, Peter, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard B. Ross, and Bryan J. Smith

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. 1994. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Peter Senge's national bestseller, The Fifth Discipline, revolutionized the practice of management by introducing the theory of learning organizations. The Fieldbook is a step-by-step guide to establishing learning organizations within existing companies. It functions as a participative workbook, with exercises for both individuals and teams, suggested approaches and ideas, and success stories.

Shaffer, Carolyn R., Kristin Anundsen, M. Scott Peck and Patricia Backlar

Creating Community Anywhere: Finding Support and Connection in a Fragmented World. 1993. New York, NY: Putnam Publishing Group.

Creating Communities Anywhere looks at the current structures that connect people (or don't) and proposes ones better adapted to the framework of contemporary society. These chapters are the tools for creating community within the many spaces we occupy. An insightful how-to manual, this book is as much about communication and interpersonal dynamics as it is about community building, be it with family and friends, neighborhoods, workplaces or even electronic communities.

Social Change

Green, Tova and Peter Woodrow; with Fran Peavey

Insight and Action: How to Discover and Support a Life of Integrity and Commitment to Change. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers.

This handbook will teach you how to facilitate both support groups and "clearness groups" (sessions for assisting individuals to make wise decisions). Also an excellent section on the art of "Strategic Questioning."

Hope, Anne and Sally Timmel

Training for Transformation: A Handbook for Community Workers. 1991. Mambo Press, Zimbabwe.

This 3-volume handbook is based on Paolo Freire's work with popular education in the Third World. Part 1 covers theory (147 pages), part 2 addresses the skills necessary for participatory education (131 pages), and part 3 includes tools of analysis and vision, building a movement, management, and planning workshops (182 pages). Available by telephoning 1-800-CWU-5551 x1.

Shaw, Randy

The Activist's Handbook: A Primer for the 1990s and Beyond (revised edition). 2001. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

The Activist's Handbook is a hard-hitting guide to making social change happen. Shaw, a longtime activist for urban issues, shows how positive change can still be accomplished if activists employ the strategies set forth in this desperately needed primer. In a new preface, Shaw describes how the power of grassroots activism has won newfound respect. Mass protests against globalization and in favor of stricter gun controls have led once-invulnerable targets like the World Bank and the National Rifle Association to take citizen action more seriously.

Shields, Katrina

In the Tiger's Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action. 1994. New Society Publishers: British Colombia, Canada.

Offers a variety of activities and exercises which focus on the interface of personal/organizational. Includes tools for teaching effective communication with opponents and allies.


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