Moderators facilitate the forum, ensuring that forum participants engage in a deliberative dialogue that helps them move toward a public decision on a difficult issue. A variety of resources have been developed to help you moderate a successful forum;
- Moderator Toolkit - This resource is an excellent first stop for anyone interested in moderating deliberative forums. It outlines nine key elements of deliberative forums and also includes a moderator cheat sheet to guide the flow of a forum, suggested ways of fostering deeper deliberations, and sample questions that can support dialogue.
- Online Moderator Training - This 40-minute narrated slideshow explains the basics of moderating deliberative events: the purpose, structure, and some general guidance.
- Moderator Resources for Using the Climate Choices Issue Guide
- Moderator Guide for Using the Energy Choices Issue Guide
- Comparing Debate, Discussion, and Deliberative Dialogue
- Tips for Convening Forums
- Effective Facilitation for Deliberation
- Tips for Moderators
- Phases of a Deliberative Forum
- Ending a Forum
Forums: Usually small gatherings where people come together for 2–3 hours to deliberate about important and difficult public problems (or issues) with the help of a neutral moderator and a discussion guide that presents several possible approaches to the problem.
Moderator: A person who remains neutral while helping participants at a forum use an issue guide as they deliberate about possible approaches to a public problem.
Convener: A person (sometimes the moderator), group, or institution that does the work of organizing a public forum where people can come together to deliberate about a public problem. Sometimes the convener will also produce a report about what happened during the forum.
Issue Guide: Sometimes also called an “issue framework,” this is usually printed material that presents an overview of a public problem, or issue, and three or four possible approaches to the problem, along with the potential costs, consequences, and tradeoffs that would likely result from following any of the approaches. The issue guide is intended to help forum participants focus on the issue and deliberate about possible courses of action. Some EIF issue guides will have companion videos that provide an overview of the issue framework.
Background Resources on Deliberation
- Everyday Democracy – Ideas and Tools for Community Change. The mission of Everyday Democracy is to help communities talk and work together to create communities that work for everyone. Everyday Democracy works directly with local communities, providing advice and training and flexible how-to resources.
- London, S. (2010) Doing Democracy: How a network of grassroots organizations is strengthening community, building capacity, and shaping a new kind of civic education. Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation.
- Matthews, D. (2014 ) The Ecology of Democracy: Finding Ways to Have a Stronger Hand in Shaping Our Future. Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation Press.
- McKnight, J. (2013) The Four-Legged Stool. Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation.
- National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation - The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) is a network of thousands of innovators who bring people together across divides to tackle today’s toughest challenges. NCDD serves as a gathering place, a resource clearinghouse, a news source, and a facilitative leader for this extraordinary community.
- Public Agenda – Public Agenda is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps diverse leaders and citizens navigate divisive, complex issues and work together to find solutions.
- Rourke, B. (2014) Developing Materials for Deliberative Forums. Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation.
- Innovative online forums using Common Ground for Action, a new, interactive deliberation web tool developed by the Kettering Foundation and some very smart programmers. Moderator training for Common Ground for Action is available.