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Deliberative research as a tool to make value judgements

Burchardt, Tania ORCID: 0000-0003-4822-4954 (2012) Deliberative research as a tool to make value judgements. CASEpapers (159). Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London, UK.

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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.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Author
Divisions: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology > B5 - Current Heterodox Approaches > B50 - General
Date Deposited: 23 May 2012 10:46
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 23:26

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