Unlike the commonly used public opinion polls, Deliberative Polling (DP) provides a way of obtaining public input that is both considered on the one hand and representative on the other. A DP draws and interviews a random sample of the public, then invites them to a common site to discuss the issues for a day or a weekend.
The participants are sent balanced briefing materials laying out the major arguments for and against the policy proposals under discussion. Onsite, they alternate between discussing the issues in randomly assigned small groups, led by moderators trained to intervene as little and as neutrally as possible, and questioning balanced panels of policy experts in plenary sessions.
At the end, they complete the same questionnaire as at the beginning. The results paint a picture of a more informed public, thinking harder and talking more with people very different from themselves, holding very different views, as well as one of how that public differs from one we actually have.
A fuller synopsis of the discussion leader’s presentation is attached for your perusal. The discussion leader, Prof Robert Luskin from the University of Texas, is a leading researcher in this area. We have also included some useful background materials.
The CDD will bring together government officials, private and people sector leaders, and academics to explore the concept and practice of DP and how they may be applicable in the context of policy making in Singapore. We believe that your participation in this small-group discussion would be of much value to the eventual outcome and we hope you will be able to spare the time to be at the CDD.
Assoc Prof Robert Luskin, Department of Government, The College of Liberal Arts, The University of Texas at Austin and Visiting Scholar, Department of Communications & New Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore.
- Deliberative Polling: Combining the Virtues of Deliberation and Polling in Gauging Public Opinion
Article by Cheong Kah Shin and Arun Mahizhnan, IPS Research Assistant and IPS Deputy Director
- Thursday, 12 January 2012