Public Dialogue Sessions
Public Dialogue Sessions are a form of deliberative research that provides clients with a better understanding of the choices and trade-offs stakeholders make when considering and taking positions on complex issues of the day.
In short, the Public Dialogue Sessions put the stakeholder, be they citizens, users, clients or otherwise, at the very heart of the research. In return, clients gain better insight into factors that impact on the participants' decision making process, and the elements that influence the shaping of their considered opinions.
Clients are provided with an opportunity to interact directly with the study audience, to exchange views and connect with each other in a way that is simply not possible using traditional qualitative research methodologies.
How does it work?
Typically, Public Dialogue Sessions consist of between 50 and 60 participants recruited to a central location, for a day long session. We work collaboratively with clients to develop specialized recruitment instruments that will allow for a preliminary screening of audiences based on a series of attitudinal questions. This screening is done to ensure participants represent a variety of perspectives.
The session itself consists of three separate and distinct steps. Initially, participants are queried in order to obtain their top-of-mind impressions of the issues at hand, using survey questions with answers gathered via hand held electronic voting technology. Once top-of-mind impressions have been gathered, participants are presented with carefully balanced background materials (handouts, video, PowerPoint decks, etc) illustrating differing perspectives on the issues to be discussed – this material is meant to fuel the subsequent discussion. This is followed by an initial moderated plenary discussion that is focused on the presentation materials. After the plenary discussion, results from the initial survey session are used to segment participants into smaller groups consisting of individuals with likeminded or divergent opinions (depending on research objectives).
At this point participants are encouraged to engage in a dialogue on the issues being explored all the while using background materials to further inform the discussion. These sessions are facilitated by trained Ipsos Public Affairs Qualitative HotHouse moderators.
Upon completion of the dialogue session, participants are once more queried on their impressions of the issue at hand using electronic voting technology. This allows our qualitative research specialists to track any changes in opinion which may have occurred as a result of deliberations. Therefore, the findings represent the conclusions that the audience would reach had they had the opportunity to become more informed on the issues.