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How Deliberative are Deliberative Opinion Polls?

Open Panel

Abstract

The past decade has experienced a strong surge in citizen deliberation. Despite the increasing popularity of mini-publics (such as Deliberative Opinion Polls), research has mainly focused on the outcomes of mini-publics (such as opinion changes or knowledge gains), while systematic research on the exact quality of citizen deliberation is largely absent. This paper attempts to fill this gap by analyzing the deliberative quality on immigration in the context of a pan-European Deliberative Poll (Europolis). The quality of citizen deliberation is analyzed on the basis of the amended Discourse Quality Index (DQI) which represents a comprehensive measure to track deliberation’s content. To assess deliberative quality, we will not only report on the frequencies of the various components of deliberative quality (such as justification rationality or respect) but also explore how the different components hang together. On the basis of a Bayesian Item Response analysis, we will aggregate the different components of deliberative quality into different interaction modes (rational vs. conventional ones). Finally, we will also apply a sequential analysis and track the dynamics of the deliberative process.