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Deliberative research as a tool to make value judgements

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  • Burchardt, Tania

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Burchardt, Tania, 2012. "Deliberative research as a tool to make value judgements," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 43904, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:43904
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/43904/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anonymous, 2007. "Research Areas," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, February.
    2. Alkire, Sabina, 2005. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199283316.
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    13. Anonymous, 2007. "Research Areas," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General

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