By Aaron Hamlin
In this interview, we discuss the concept of a citizen jury as well as its application. To join us, we have two Canadian academics on the subject: Dr. Kalina Kamenova and Dr. Nicole Goodman. A citizen jury is a representative sample of an electorate that is brought together by elected representatives. The jury then deliberates using information provided to them as well as through expert testimony. Finally, the jury delivers an opinion which may or may not be binding.
You can also learn about citizen juries at The Jefferson Center.
Dr. Kamenova: Dr. Kamenova acts as research associate with the Health Law Institute of Law and the research director at the Centre for Public Involvement, both at the University of Alberta.
Dr. Goodman: Dr. Goodman is a research fellow at the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and is an assistant professor of political science at McMaster University.
Aaron Hamlin: Executive Director of The Center for Election Science
CES: Hi. I’m Aaron Hamlin I’m here with the Center for Election Science, and today we are excited to have Dr. Kalina Kamenova and Dr. Nicole Goodman here with us in order to talk about citizen juries. Dr. Kalina Kamenova is a Research Associate with the Health Law Institute in the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta. In 2012-2013 she held a Post-Doctoral appointment as the Inaugural Research Director of the newly established Centre for Public Involvement at the University of Alberta. Her research interests are interdisciplinary and include deliberative democracy and participatory governance, public engagement with science and technology, and science communication. Dr. Nicole Goodman is a Research Fellow at the Innovation Policy Lab (IPL) in the Munk School of Global Affairs and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at McMaster University. Her research focuses on political participation, she is particularly interested in the impact of digital and mobile technologies on participation. She served as an advisor and expert witness for the Edmonton Citizens’ Jury on Internet Voting and wrote the Issues Guide that informed Jury participants. Kalina and Nicole, thank you both for joining us here.
Dr. Goodman: Thank you for having us.
Dr. Kamenova: Thank you for having us.
CES: So Kalina, what is a citizen’s jury and who sits on it?
Dr. Kamenova: Citizen’s juries are an innovative deliberative method of political participation which promotes direct involvement of citizens equality development strategic planning or technology assessment. The major assumption of this approach is that laypeople can make well-reasoned decisions on complex problems, particularly when they participate in the focused deliberative processes. Usually, juries include a small group of citizens, and a major assumption behind these approaches is that it relies on the participatory representativeness of this small group of citizens, rather than its statistical representativeness achieved through more traditional consultation approaches, such as polling a large group of people. Juries are usually composed of 12-24 members who are randomly selected from the general public and in most cases the goal is to achieve demographically diverse group, a mini-public which is representative of the larger population. In some cases, the method which is utilized to select jury members is stratified random sampling, which means that the organizers of the process make effort to include citizens from under-represented groups particularly minorities, and they conduct not just random recruitment but they also target those particular groups. And in many cases, some additional attitudinal screening of the members is conducted to ensure that the jury is reflective of a whole range of societal views.
CES: So you’re saying that they identify certain demographics that they deem as being important and then make sure that those demographic or demographics are represented on the jury itself?
Dr. Kamenova: Yes, because traditionally certain groups in societies are under-represented in decision making, so the jury’s approach is more inclusive because it targets members of these groups. For example minorities, many of the minority groups have not been part of the political process, and when you do stratified random sampling, you can target these particular groups.
CES: Now maybe you and Nicole can help me on this one. So what are the benefits of using a citizen jury? I mean we have legislatures, we have parliaments, what does this offer that a parliament or a legislature doesn’t?
Dr. Goodman: Most democratic systems are systems of representative democracy whereby we elect representatives to make decisions for us, and sometimes it’s more difficult for those representatives to make choices that reflects the wishes of the population, the interests of the population, because they’re seeking to aggregate those interests. So it’s really nice once in a while to try and bring the public voice into policy-making and decision-making, because that may offer a different perspective and embody a different set of values than those of elected representatives. That’s one of the main advantages.
Dr. Kamenova: Another benefit of this approach is that public involvement in many cases is really done by using just pro forma techniques, like for example members of the public are simply informed about what the Government intends to do or they’re just consulted, and using an approach such as a citizen’s jury allows members of the public to be involved in a more meaningful way, because it’s a process which involves learning, and it’s a process which also empowers citizens by placing decision making in the hands of those citizens that participate in the process.
Dr. Goodman: Yes. It can add value to systems of representative government decision-making that can often be deficient and ineffective and it can also demonstrate competency and capability of lay citizens to participate in these types of processes and learn about and weigh in on complex policy issues.
CES: Nicole, how do we know about the competence of the people that are on the jury’s? How do we make sure they’re prepared? Because some of the matters that these juries may be discussing are things that may be complex; how can we be sure that they’re well-suited?
Dr. Goodman: I think typically the issues are complex or controversial because I think the issues that are selected for these types of forums are typically issues that elected representatives don’t want to weigh in on themselves, either because they’re political hot potatoes or because they may have a particular stake or vested interest in the outcome of the issues themselves. Presumably what we want to represent in these decisions and policies is the will of the people, and who better to represent the will of the people than a group that is chosen demographically from the population, and some citizens juries like the Edmonton citizens jury, have also a done representation attitudinally as well.
Dr. Kamenova: I think that Nicole raised about the jury be representative of the larger community was really good because the expectation during the deliberative process is that when jurors hear evidence from expert weaknesses, and when they question these witnesses, and then they critically review and evaluate the information, and finally engage in sustained discussions and deliberation, the verdict that they will achieve on the issue or question under consideration will be reflective of the wisdom of the entire community. It’s this powerful idea of brining the voice of the public into decision making. What gives confidence to elected representatives when they conduct the citizen’s jury process is that the verdict achieved by juries will be the same as if the entire community had deliberated.
Dr. Goodman: I think you have to think about what does “a qualified person” mean, what characteristics do they have to embody, and can we say that elected representatives are particularly qualified? The people that enter into the jury process, they hear from expert testimony, they engage in extensive deliberation, and it’s carried out over a longer time frame than typically occurs in traditional legislative policy development and decision-making, so they have a lot more information to be able to base their decisions on. In addition they are often, as you mentioned, demographically representative of the population, and sometimes as in the case of the Edmonton citizen’s jury attitudinally representative of the population, and who better to make a decision based on the public will than a group that is a mini-public essentially, demographically and attitudinally, of the larger populace?
CES: Kalina maybe you can speak to a little bit more as far as what exactly the citizen’s juries are going to be taking in. So they’re going to be getting information; how are they getting that information? Is it going to be expert testimony? Are they going to have to read a bunch of books? What exactly are they doing?
Dr. Kamenova: Usually, the process starts by collecting experts who participate in the deliberative process, and then bringing those experts to give testimony and present on the issues under consideration, and you also provide an opportunity for the citizens participating in the jury process to question these experts. Also jurors are provided with learning materials in advance, which is a strategy that we used during the Edmonton citizen jury on internet voting. Nicole developed a study guide which summarized major concerns each concerning internet voting, and jurors were presented with the guide. They were provided with learning materials in advance. So they had an opportunity to study the subject matter, to do their own research, and then meet with leading experts in the field and question those experts. So by the end of the jury process, the 17 (70???) citizens that were involved in it became experts on internet voting. We were surprised that they learned so much, and they could make what’s called an informed decision on the policy question.
CES: I mean we’re talking about some complex issues here. It sounds like they were able to get a lot of information, but how much time they have to do this? Is it matter month so they’re looking at this? How long did this take?
Dr. Kamenova: Different formats are used, so there is no one specific time frame that works in each case. So usually citizen’s juries adopt a shorter time frame compared to other deliberative forums. The citizen’s jury on Internet voting in Edmonton took place over one weekend. So practically it started on Friday afternoon and the verdict was delivered by the citizens in the late afternoon of Sunday. So it took about two days and a half, of intense learning and deliberations, and also the jurors presentations, special presentations from experts. They had time to question these experts and raise concerns about some of the issues. Different formats are used around the world; it really depends how you design the deliberative process and what type of question or political concern is addressed by the jury. If it’s something that requires a more extensive learning process then you know it would make sense for the jury process to take place over several weeks. If it’s a very narrow particular policy question, the duration could be several days. So it really depends on the time and the type of concern that is being covered by citizens.
CES: Kalina, when this is over with and a jury has its recommendation… Is that binding? is this just a recommendation for the legislature to follow? What’s going on here?
Dr. Kamenova: Citizen’s juries are still considered to be an experimental approach. Most of the jurisdictions where a citizen’s jury was convened, a decision was not legally binding, which is probably one of the deficiencies of this approach, because policymakers and elected officials can choose to ignore the recommendations of the citizen’s jury, which is what happened in Edmonton. The only place where citizen juries are legally binding is Oregon, which recently adopted, about two years ago, the Citizens’ Review Initiative, which institutionalized the citizen jury process to review ballot measures. This is a really, really important issue, about how you make a jury verdict or recommendation legally binding, because if we want to have a more efficient process, we should better make these reforms legally binding. But unfortunately it has only happened in Oregon, and in other places it is really up to elected representatives and policy makers to decide whether they will act on the jury recommendation.
CES: Kalina just said that not always are the citizens juries binding and sometimes they’re just giving recommendations so after that you through this process of taking all this information, and they give a non-binding recommendation, does that still have value even though it’s not binding?
Dr. Goodman: I think it depends. In the case of the Edmonton citizen’s jury, if we can talk about it for the specific case study, the City Council actually ended up rejecting the jury verdict. So perhaps I should give you a little background to contextualize. The Edmonton citizens jury was composed to weigh in on the topic of introducing Internet voting in local election in the city of Edmonton, and they ended up deliberating and unanimously decided after some further deliberation that they wanted to see internet voting. They thought it was a good idea to be used in elections moving forward at the local level. Well, when City Council ended up voting on it they ended up actually rejecting the Internet voting proposal. So this situation truly speaks to the question, should verdicts be binding? Because this city invested all of this money to bring people on, design the process, then train these people. The people were brought in and this was seen to enhance their faith in the legitimacy and responsiveness in government, and then they went ahead and rejected it.So what does that mean? Well, they also put forward some recommendations and the city did promise to take those recommendations forward and consider them in the future policy development. This particular instance was very interesting because, although the citizens jury was a large component in the process, there were other special interest groups that also participated in the process as well and I think some of them felt like their voices were not heard through the jury process, so they went to other channels. So this is kind of a unique mix of political participation where you saw a group of Citizens that were demographically and attitudinally representative of the population coming together and deliberating on a very important and complex policy issue, and experts of course came, but then some people who wanted their voices heard didn’t feel that this is inclusive enough, or representative enough, and so they sort of went in the back door channels and it ended up being… well, we don’t know for certain, but I think those voices did have an impact on the verdict. So more generally can these recommendations have an impact? I think they can have an impact; if the policy changes are visited in the future that could be something that government could look back upon at that point and say “These were the recommendations that this citizens’ jury came up with at that time we should take this into consideration as we’re moving forward with policy development” Particularly if they decide not to engage in a deliberative method again. Also, other governments may be considering this policy change and maybe don’t have the funds to pursue a citizen jury can benefit from the wisdom of those recommendations if they’re made public.
CES: When you speak to the recommendations being made public, is it just “we make this recommendation,” a short little bit about that recommendation, or something more elaborate, going into the deliberative process as far as how they came to that recommendation?
Dr. Goodman: No, I think it’s more basic so they have a very short time to write up their report. In terms of what I would think to write a report, so it’s been written in very clear plain language and essentially gets to the essence of the action or inaction that they’re suggesting here.
CES: You mentioned in Edmonton, Internet voting. What other types of issues might be discussed in Citizen juries?
Dr. Goodman: Yeah. When I was thinking about this question, I was thinking about it in terms of citizens juries and citizens assembly. Citizens’ assemblies are another type of deliberative forum, where citizens can be brought into the decision-making process and be educated through expert testimony and deliberation to decide on a particular policy issue. So I sort of think that the types of issues that are addressed by these forums can be grouped into three categories: One, we see controversial issues and being addressed, and a really good example of that is electoral reform as it was examined by citizens assemblies in Canada, in British Columbia and Ontario. Electoral reform is always a very contentious issue, especially for politicians who essentially are put into those positions and have their livelihood depending on the electoral system putting them in power. So because they had a vested interest in this system selection, they’re maybe not the best ones to make the decision. Internet voting is also seen as a topic that very controversial as well, as I’m sure you can imagine. There’s certain groups who are ardent defenders of it, and they say it promotes accessibility and convenience, and makes the electoral process a lot easier for people to participate in, also encourage the engagement. And then there’s another camp who argues that very strongly about security threats and issues, so very very controversial. The second type I would say is something that has been difficult to resolve. So maybe an issue that has been persistent in the policy arena for some time. Maybe the government has tried something already it hasn’t worked out that well. So they go and they seek out the public and the try and see if they can and take out any wisdom or knowledge or ideas from the public that they couldn’t come up with themselves going through the traditional process. A good example of that is citizens’ assembly that recently took place in Queens Edward County in Ontario and to debate over the size of council review. This was a problem that they were unable to solve and which generated a lot of local debate. The third area is unique policy problems or issues; something that maybe hasn’t necessarily been a pressing issue but it’s very unique. In south Australia right now they’re currently completing a citizens jury process and which aims to make a certain community’s night life safer and more vibrant. So not your typical policy issue maybe not a controversial or pressing problem, but I think that’s definitely a unique policy issue.
CES: I think certainly we can the benefit of having a citizen jury, especially if something like electoral issues, where there is that where there’s a clear conflict of interest from the legislature. Now, Kalina, the idea of citizen juries, is this something that’s new, or is this something that’s been around for a while? Where has this been used before?
Dr. Kamenova: It’s still considered an innovative consultative method, because you know it the process has not be institutionalized, with the exception of the Oregon citizen’s review initiative, but it’s not a new concept. The citizen jury originated during the 1970s with the development of a method of deliberation called “planning cells”. This was developed by Professor Peter Pino [unclear] at the Research Institute for Citizens Participation in Planning Procedures at the University of [unclear] in Germany, independently. In Germany, they experimented with citizens juries, particularly on a range of urban planning issues, and also for social policy development. Well, it turned out to be a very effective approach, and the planning cells are very similar to a citizen’s jury because they use a small group of people, up to 25, 30 and they engage them in a deliberation and a learning process on the issues under consideration. Independently of the Germans, a similar process, a citizen jury process was modeled in the mid 1970s, under the name of “citizens’ committee by Nat Crosby at the Jefferson center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in the late 1980s Crosby adopted the term “citizens’ jury”. OK this is like a little bit of history about the process. Crosby also registered the trademark on the term “citizens’ jury” in the United States, so now every time, when you design a citizen process in the US, you have to acknowledge the trademark that the Jefferson Center has. So it’s been around for a while, and citizens juries have been used in a number of countries around the world. They have been popular in the UK, in Europe, also in Germany, even in France. In Australia there have been a number of citizens juries that have been convened, on a whole range of urban planning, technology development, technology assessment, and policy development issues. In Canada it’s a relatively new approach, and the citizens’ jury on internet voting in Edmonton was basically the first citizens’ jury in Canada, where citizens presented their recommendation directly to elected representatives, in this case Edmonton’s city council.
CES: Nicole you had mentioned… you were talking before about binding versus non-binding recommendations from the citizen jury, and now what kind of role do you think the media is going to play into that, as far as I having the public become more aware and perhaps pressuring the legislature to come up with a certain direction?
Dr. Goodman: I think the media is extremely important and first I’m going to answer your question and then I’ll provide an interesting example that shows that in the Canadian context. I think the media is really important to hold the government’s feet to the fire and hold them to account. In the case of the Edmonton citizens’ jury , the city did invest quite a bit of money in into this process and then when the citizens jury verdict was not followed up on, you have to think what are the implications of this. So if in other situations this is occurring and these verdicts are non-binding, then it’s the public’s job to hold the government’s feet to the fire, and how do they find out about this? Well, through the media. And it’s also the media’s job as the Democratic arbiter to be reporting on this and providing the public with this information so that they can act accordingly. I think the media has an interesting role in this process generally, and I think an excellent example of that is the British Columbia citizens assembly, if I may. The British Columbia citizens and he was very controversial in its introduction, for electoral reform. British Columbia went through a series of wrong winner scenarios where the wrong government was elected and the liberals ended up, when they were on the other side of the fence, when they were not in power, they said “When we get into power we promise we’re going to revisit this” and then when they were actually in power they were much more reluctant to revisit electoral reform. But because of the public pressure they did. they went through this is citizens assembly process, they invested a lot of money, the whole process went from January to December 2004, just for the deliberation, learning, and recommendations, so you can imagine this was an extremely lengthy and cost intensive process. At the end of the process, the recommendation of the citizens assembly was put to a public referendum. It was the government’s job to provide funding to advertise this, and the media was supposed to report on this as well. The government invested a fraction, a small fraction of the money on advertising, and it didn’t pick up as much in the media as it is should have, and as a consequence it narrowly failed, just very narrowly, and afterwards when people were interviewed they said they were just not aware of it, and one of the main reasons that was cited for this was because the lack of media attention. The irony is how so much money went into the development of this process through deliberation, but not into the public dissemination of the findings.
CES: And now here you talking about the referendum for Single Transferable Vote in British Columbia. Is that what you’re talking about?
Dr. Goodman: That’s correct. So I just think it’s interesting. Not only should the media play an important role in terms of getting the verdicts out there, especially for citizens’ juries that are non-binding, so the public can, as I said, try and hold the government to this process, as they’ve invested in this process for a reason they should trust in these chosen individuals, but also in disseminating and getting the information out there more generally, especially in cases such as this citizens assembly for electoral reform when there was a referendum and then not much was said about it.
Dr. Kamenova: But also I think media can play a key role in educating citizens about this type of deliberative processes, and why they are so important, and how they can empower citizens to participate in decision making. We live in a mediated reality and media is a major source of information on political and social issues for the general public. So the more people know about deliberative methods, the more inclined elected representatives will be to support the use of such methods. So when implementing the citizens jury, and this is a lesson that we’ve learned in Edmonton, because we designed a really good process, and then we engaged the municipal government and convince them to finance the process and present a participative verdict to the City Council, but we did not work closely with the media, and what happened in the end, I think to a certain extent it seems as if once the outcome of that process, when the City Council voted against the outcome proposal, I think the Council used the media as their major source of information, and the voices of those stakeholders that did not participate in the jury process were really heard, while councilors not know about the jury process. You know, there wasn’t a lot about it in the media. Media obviously covered the citizens jury but the coverage did not include information about the process itself: how participants were recruited, why this was such an important event, and in effect at the end, the outcome of the entire process. So the media is very important to work with when implementing a citizen jury process in any jurisdiction.
CES: And you can imagine that being so, especially in the case of British Columbia, and looking at the alternative voting method. You recently in Canada had an election where a conservative faction had less than 40 percent of the vote and yet they got more than fifty percent of the seats, and in that particular method where a citizens’ jury, and the referendum, was looking at a proportional method, which if the media perhaps had been more on their game, would be able to show that proportional methods do a much better job at creating a buffer against these, what are called “false majorities ” where you have people that have a minority of the vote, yet more than half the seats.
Dr. Goodman: Yes, that’s totally true. The last time in in Canada that a majority government was elected with a majority of the vote was in 1984, and that was just by a hair, because I think they had 50.9 percent of the vote. So it’s a rarity in Canadian politics, given our regional issues and our single member plurality electoral system, that we see majority governments elected with a majority of the vote. Typically it’s a plurality of the vote, and usually not a large plurality.
CES: Now we’ve been talking out citizens juries and I think something that is going to be a lot of people’s minds is, what’s the price tag on this? What’s this going to cost the people?
Dr. Goodman: Yes. In terms of the price tag, I don’t think there’s any hard, fast rules about how much something like this costs. I think cost is really built into the design and the length of time that the process is carried out. Some citizens juries take place longer than others. The Edmonton c.j. met and deliberated over a weekend. In the case of Australian CJ, they’re meeting six times over a number months so that would be much more costly. The nature of the cost really depends on the design, and the unique features that you put into the planning of the process.
CES: You mention in Edmonton that it was a shorter time frame, so what was the cost in Edmonton?
Dr. Goodman: I think Kalina could comment to that directly.
Dr. Kamenova: So at the time I was the research director at the Center for public involvement which was the organization which designed and implemented the process, and we were commissioned by the city of Edmonton to developing the entire involvement campaign around the Internet voting proposal. The money that we received from them, and this is not a secret because it’s a center for public involvement, affiliated as an academic center, the money was like, it was practically a research grant, so we received about 70,000, 70,000 Canadian dollars, but this included a number of different components not just the CJ itself. This included development of an online survey, stakeholder consultation meetings, and the citizen jury process. So the jury process was just the third component of this entire public involvement campaign, and I would say , given the amount of money we received, it was a very cost-effective approach. I would say about 1/3 of the money that we received was used to design the process. One of the interesting issues is about payment. There is a huge controversy around me the issue of whether the participants of a citizens’ jury should be paid, whether they should receive monetary rewards, and we decided to pay the jurors for their time. They were paid a really small amount, which compensated them for spending three days in deliberation and attending in person, so we paid them about four hundred dollars per person. It’s practically a symbolic honorarium that was being paid to them. When you take this into account, and we also provided expert witnesses with some compensation for their expenses, those of them who traveled to Edmonton, and we also provided them with a small honorarium, and there was also of course the money involved with booking the venue, logistics, and catering, so I would say it’s a really cost-effective approach.
CES: So say a city hears about this and they become really interested… What kind of steps would they need to do? As they’re going along is there anything that you would recommend that the city keep in mind as they’re starting this up and pushing for CJs?
Dr. Kamenova: You need people with expertise who will be able to design the process. What helped in the case of Edmonton was the center for public involvement at the University of Alberta had established an institutional partnership with the city of Edmonton. So the center itself is partially funded by the city. So because of this, this facilitated that process. Obviously CJs are a very innovative approach, and usually the idea comes from academics, particularly people who specialize in deliberative democracy and participatory governance. But in order to implement this idea, you need the cooperation of government, and of public participation practitioners. The CPI handled this component, so we had established the institutional partnership with the city, we also worked with an international Association of public participation practitioners, so we could draw on their resources to select moderators, facilitators of the CJ process, which is a very very important aspect of the process, so this helped. In the case of other cities, I guess first of all you need some enthusiasm, and then people who propose this process to the municipal government, because it’s unlikely that bureaucrats will come up with this idea. Maybe some progressive group would. But in the case of the city of Edmonton, with the Internet voting project, which involves using deliberative method, we explained the approach, and they were really fascinated. They liked the approach–they thought it was very innovative.
CES: So you just found a some receptive people, some receptive policymakers in the city?
Dr. Kamenova: Yeah, that’s one good strategy. Finding receptive senior administrators at different levels, or elected representatives. People who will be supportive of using this approach. This is one way to go. And then also, of course, convince them to invest funding into organizing a CJ. Well that’s what happened in Edmonton. I think they found that Internet voting was a very controversial issue. Also a contributing factor was that the city project team wanted to avoid the controversy. They wanted to hear from the public what the public thinks on this issue, whether it will be receptive to the introduction of Internet voting as an alternative voting method in municipal elections.
CES: Well Kalina Nicole do you have anything to add?
Dr. Goodman: I guess there is one thing that I would add, and that’s the question that you raised earlier that we were discussing before the interview, about the difference between a citizens jury and a citizens assembly. Because the way that the literature defines that, as Kalina pointed at beginning of the call, the citizens jury is typically composed of 12 to 24 members, a smaller group, much like a jury, and a citizens assembly, in the way that we’ve seen them and the way that they emerged in Canada for the first time in 2004 in British Columbia and then in 2006 in Ontario, they were much larger; 160 members in BC and 103 members or participants in the case of Ontario. But then this past summer we saw a citizens assembly take place in Prince Edward County and that was composed of 24 members, and it took place only over three sessions, so a much shorter time frame. And we look at this time Australian and citizens jury which has 43 members but it’s taking place over several months and will meet six times. So I think an interesting question to raise, thinking about future research and ideas, is what are the main differences between these different deliberative tools. Are they very similar, how are they different, and those sorts of things, because it seems to her that the two can overlap at least.
CES: So you think it’s more just the goal is the same but perhaps the meeting times and the frequency of the meetings, there may be a different number people involved, but overall the goal on the end is the same?
Dr. Goodman: Yes. I mean my initial perception of the main difference between them was that citizens assemblies were a larger undertaking, they took place over a larger period of time, but I’d been proven wrong now based on the Prince Edward County citizens’ assembly, and so perhaps that’s really a citizens’ jury, because they illustrate the opposite. An interesting question to raise for thinking in future research.
Dr. Kamenova: I’ll also add something about cooperation between academia and government because CJs and CAs and all these innovative approaches, this is not something that … those are still experimental approaches. An important aspect of that processes is to research the process and not just to design it for policymakers, but also to research throughout the entire process. Sometimes there’s certain shortcomings, let’s say, you know, criticism about how the issues are being framed when the citizens’ jury is conducted, and how this leads to specific outcomes. So integrating research into the practice of public participation is very important and it’s one way to improve the CJ process, and to convince policymakers it is very efficient, it’s a good process, it’s a meaningful way to engage citizens. So what we tried to do in Edmonton, parallel to the actual citizens jury process, we conducted observations, and we also asked the jurors, the citizens who participated in the process, to complete surveys, and evaluate their opinion change over time. We saw how people’s perceptions were being changed as a result of their learning in the process. It’s very important that you integrate research and practice in public participation in the design of any public participation event.
CES: Sounds like good advice. Kalina, Nicole, thank you again for joining us. It’s been a pleasure having you and I’m sure everyone is excited now that they’ve learned more about citizens’ juries. Maybe in some circles, citizens assemblies. I am Aaron Hamlin with the Center for Election Science, and we look forward to hearing from you next time. Thank you.
Dr. Kamenova: Thank you for having us.
Dr. Goodman: Yes, thank you very much, Aaron.
CES: This podcast was brought to you by The Center for Election Science. You can find a transcript of this podcast and more of our work at our website, electology.org. If you enjoyed this podcast, you can support us by donating on our webpage and by sharing our work on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow us at facebook.com/electology and on Twitter under @ElectionScience. Until next time, thanks for listening.