Public Participation Methods: A Framework for Evaluation

January 1st, 2000 | RESEARCH

There is a growing call for greater public involvement in establishing science and technology policy, in line with democratic ideals. A variety of public participation procedures exist that aim to consult and involve the public, ranging from the public hearing to the consensus conference. Unfortunately, a general lack of empirical consideration of the quality of these methods arises from confusion as to the appropriate benchmarks for evaluation. Given that the quality of the output of any participation exercise is difficult to determine, the authors suggest the need to consider which aspects of the process are desirable and then to measure the presence or quality of these process aspects. To this end, a number of theoretical evaluation criteria that are essential for effective public participation are specified. These comprise two types: acceptance criteria, which concern features of a method that make it acceptable to the wider public, and process criteria, which concern features of the process that are liable to ensure that it takes place in an effective manner. Future research needs to develop instruments to measure these criteria more precisely and identify the contextual and environmental factors that will mediate the effectiveness of the different participation methods.


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Team Members

Gene Rowe, Author, Institute of Food Research
Lynn Frewer, Co-Principal Investigator, Institute of Food Research


Publication: Science, Technology, & Human Values
Volume: 25
Number: 1
Page(s): 3

Related URLs

full Text via ResearchGate


Audience: General Public | Scientists
Discipline: General STEM | Technology
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Public Programs