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Difficulties in evaluating public engagement initiatives: reflections on an evaluation of the UK GM Nation? public debate about transgenic crops


Rowe, Gene; Horlick-Jones, Tom; Walls, John; Pidgeon, Nick


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Abstract In the realm of risk management, and policy-making more generally, “public engagement” is often advocated as an antidote to pathologies associated with traditional methods of policy-making, and associated deficit-model-driven communication strategies. The actual benefits of public engagement are, however, difficult to establish without thorough evaluation of specific engagement processes. Unfortunately, rigorous evaluation is difficult, and, perhaps for this reason, it has rarely been undertaken. In this paper we highlight a number of these difficulties in the light of our experiences in evaluating a major engagement initiative, namely the GM Nation? publice debate on the possible commercialization of transgenic crops, which took place in Britain in 2003. The difficulties we identify seem likely to be relevant to many, if not most, engagement evaluations. They are concerned with both theoretical/normative (how one should evaluate) and practical (how one does evaluate) issues. We suggest a number of possible solutions to these evaluation difficulties.
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2005
Seitenangabe S. 331-352
Zeitschriftentitel Public Understanding of Science, 14 (2005) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662505056611
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)