Deliberative Methods for Complex Issues: A typology of functions that may need scaffolding

Author: Thomas Jordan, Department of Sociology and Work Science, Gothenburg University, 2013.

Abstract: When a group of diverse stakeholders face a complex issue that needs to be managed skillfully, the group may need support in order to work effectively. A large number of methods for scaffolding group deliberation on complex issues has evolved over the last few decades, however little research has been conducted to date on what functions these methods actually perform.

The study in this article differentiates between the functions that may need to be scaffolded, and the means used for scaffolding such functions. A literature review and interviews with eight experienced facilitators led to a typology comprising of 24 functions that various deliberative methods are assumed to perform. The typology also describes some of the risks associated with a neglect to scaffold each function. An inventory was made of techniques and facilitator actions used in different methods and by individual facilitators in order to scaffold the 24 functions. The typology of functions may be useful in empirical research on deliberative methods, for evaluation purposes, and for supporting further development of skillfulness among facilitators.

Read the full paper 

24 Point Facilitator’s Checklist (from the article)  

Scroll to top