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Deliberative research as a tool to make value judgements

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  • Tania Burchardt
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    Abstract

    The 'deliberative turn' in democratic theory has generated a wealth of deliberative experiments. The purpose of deliberation as a research technique (as opposed to policymaking or public consultation) is distinctive: to uncover the public's informed, considered, and collective view on a normative question. In the social science context, this often arises in relation to research on poverty, well-being and inequality, where there is a need to define and justify the thresholds and concepts adopted on a deeper basis than convention alone can offer. This paper compares deliberative research to more traditional methods of studying the values of the general public, such as in-depth interviewing, attitudinal surveys, and participatory approaches, and reveals that deliberative designs involve a number of assumptions, including a strong fact/value distinction, an emphasis on 'outsider' expertise, and a view of participants as essentially similar to each other rather than defined by socio-demographic differences. Normative decisions permeate the design and implementation of deliberative research, so while it has the potential to provide uniquely considered, insightful and well-justified answers to the problem of defining a collective position on key questions in social science, transparency at all stages of the process is essential.

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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/CASEpaper159.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE in its series CASE Papers with number /159.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:/159

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    Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/_new/publications/default.asp

    Related research

    Keywords: deliberative research; value judgements; capability approach; inequality; research design;

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    1. David A. Crocker, 2007. "Deliberative Participation in Local Development," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 431-455.
    2. Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245796, September.
    3. Anonymous, 2007. "Research Areas," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September.
    4. Anonymous, 2007. "Research Areas," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, November.
    5. Abelson, Julia & Forest, Pierre-Gerlier & Eyles, John & Smith, Patricia & Martin, Elisabeth & Gauvin, Francois-Pierre, 2003. "Deliberations about deliberative methods: issues in the design and evaluation of public participation processes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 239-251, July.
    6. Abelson, Julia & Forest, Pierre-Gerlier & Eyles, John & Casebeer, Ann & Martin, Elisabeth & Mackean, Gail, 2007. "Examining the role of context in the implementation of a deliberative public participation experiment: Results from a Canadian comparative study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(10), pages 2115-2128, May.
    7. Deepa Narayan & Robert Chambers & Meera K. Shah & Patti Petesch, 2000. "Voices of the Poor : Crying Out for Change," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13848.
    8. Anonymous, 2007. "Research Areas," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, June.
    9. Anonymous, 2007. "Research Areas," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, February.
    10. Anonymous, 2007. "Research Areas," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
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