Evaluating Public Participation in a Deliberative Dialogue: A Single Case Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 School of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University, London, ON, Canada

2 School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

3 Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, ON, Canada

4 Department of Family Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, ON, Canada


Deliberative dialogues (DDs) are used in policy-making and healthcare research to enhance knowledge exchange and research implementation strategies. They allow organized dissemination and integration of relevant research, contextual considerations, and input from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Despite recent interest in involving patient and public perspectives in the design and development of healthcare services, DDs typically involve only professional stakeholders. A DD took place in May 2019 that aimed to improve the social environment (eg, safety, social inclusion) and decrease social isolation in a rent-geared-to-income housing complex in a large urban community. Tenants of the housing complex, public health, primary care, and social service providers participated. This study aimed to determine how including community tenants impacted the planning and execution of a DD, including adjustments made to the traditional DD model to improve accessibility.

A Core Working Group (CWG) and Steering Committee coordinated with researchers to plan the DD, purposefully recruit participants, and determine appropriate accommodations for tenants. A single mixed-methods case study was used to evaluate the DD process. Meeting minutes, field notes, and researchers’ observations were collected throughout all stages. Stakeholders’ contributions to and perception of the DD were assessed using participant observation, survey responses, and focus groups (FGs).

34 participants attended the DD and 28 (82%) completed the survey. All stakeholder groups rated the overall DD experience positively and valued tenants’ involvement. The tenants heavily influenced the planning and DD process including decisions about key DD features. Suggestions to improve the experience for tenants were identified.

These findings demonstrate the viability of and provide recommendations for DDs involving public participants. Like previous DDs, participants found the use of engaged facilitators, issue briefs, and off-the-record deliberations useful. Similarly, professional stakeholders did not highly value consensus as an output, although it was highly valued among tenants, as was actionability.



Commentaries Published on this Paper


  • Enhancing Multiple Ways of Knowing; Comment on “Evaluating Public Participation in a Deliberative Dialogue: A Single Case Study”

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  • How to Account for Asymmetries in Deliberative Dialogues; Comment on “Evaluating Public Participation in a Deliberative Dialogue: A Single Case Study”

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  • epublished Author Accepted Version: February 5, 2022
  • epublished Final Version: February 28, 2022
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Volume 11, Issue 11
November 2022
Pages 2638-2650
  • Receive Date: 30 June 2021
  • Revise Date: 23 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 02 February 2022
  • First Publish Date: 05 February 2022