Promoting deliberation through research: qualitative methods and public engagement with science and technology
Evans, Robert John
- Publisher: Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
This paper explores the contribution of qualitative research to public\ud engagement with science and technology by critically evaluating a deliberative\ud exercise designed to incorporate several aspects of contemporary science\ud studies. The project used in-depth interviews, reconvened focus groups and a\ud roundtable workshop to simulate ‘upstream’ public engagement by investigating\ud how patients, carers and lay citizens evaluated different treatment options for\ud Type One diabetes. By comparing how these treatments were discussed in\ud focus groups and a roundtable workshop we show how the choice of research\ud setting makes a significant difference to the data collected. In particular, we\ud show that the relatively homogeneous focus groups allowed more perspectives\ud to emerge than the apparently more heterogeneous roundtable, which was\ud ultimately dominated by the patient perspective. In reflecting on these events,\ud we acknowledge both the vulnerability of deliberative methods to factors beyond\ud the researchers’ control but also ask what status the outcome of such\ud deliberations should have if these vulnerabilities could be eliminated.
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