Increasing Political Sophistication Through Public Deliberation

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Deliberative democratic theory posits that group deliberation aids the development of citizens' political sophistication. To test this general claim, the authors studied the association between participation in face-to-face political deliberation and subsequent changes in the coherence, integration, differentiation, and detail of participants' political beliefs. The authors measured these dependent variables using questionnaires administered before and after participation in a deliberative activity-National Issues Forums (NIF) discussions of political issues. Seven different issues were studied, and the results of these separate studies were integrated through meta-analysis. Changes in preforum and postformum responses suggested that participation in the NIF discussions increased participants' schematic integration and differentiation and reduced their attitudinal uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-23
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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