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How to Develop Discussion Materials for Public Dialogue

November 29, 2007

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How to develop discussion materials for public dialogueGood discussion materials help people explore a complex, public issue from a wide range of views, and find solutions that they can agree to act on and support. Discussion materials don’t have to provide all the answers; instead, they provide a framework and a starting place for a deep, fair discussion where every voice can be heard.

Keep in mind that this is an art, not a science. As you write, think about your audience. Don’t overestimate what people know, but don’t underestimate their intelligence. Trust the public, and trust the process.

The step-by-step instructions provided here mirror the order that many discussion guides follow. They are designed to help the writing team move through a series of meetings and tasks to produce the discussion materials.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.