Abstract/Details

Effects of a structured public issues discourse method on the complexity of citizens' reasoning and local political development


2007 2007

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This study was about adult and political development. Political development, here, means improvement in the publicly common ways of relating, which characterize a political culture. A small group of citizens participated in six sessions of a structured public discourse process for working on complex issues. The study's purpose was two-fold. It was an exploratory test of a theory-based hypothesis that when a group used the process, its average hierarchical complexity of reasoning about issues would increase. Anecdotal evidence had previously indicated that useful social benefits and more complex thinking about issues were connected with using this process method. The other purpose was to study what changes in the political culture of the small group, if any, would occur over the course of using the discourse process. The group sessions and pretest and posttest interviews generated data that were scored using the Hierarchical Complexity Scoring System. Scores on related measures of selected interview material provided the quantitative data to test the hypothesis. The null hypothesis was H0: P = .5, where P represented the probability of either no change or a decrease in the group's average hierarchical complexity. The alternative hypothesis HA: P > .5, p < .05 (one-tailed) was the dichotomous probability that there would be an average increase in the group's hierarchical complexity. The nonparametric binomial test was used to test for dichotomous observations of either an increase or no change/decrease. Results supported rejection of the null hypothesis, significant at p < .01, one-tailed. The average increase in hierarchical complexity of the related measures was significant at p < .01, one-tailed, with large effect size. Qualitative methods were used to analyze (a) changes in the group's political culture, (b) increases in participants' hope and motivation about addressing the issues they worked on, and (c) participant-reported benefits of participating in the process. The group's culture transformed from a fragmented negative tone to a positive, coherent, deliberative tone. The study informs research into fostering adult development, increasing the coherence of public discourse, improving public deliberation, and the role of structured public discourse about complex issues in fostering political development.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Political science;
Developmental psychology;
Social structure
Classification
0615: Political science
0620: Developmental psychology
0700: Social structure
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Psychology; Citizens; Local political development; Political development; Public deliberation; Reasoning; Structured public discourse
Title
Effects of a structured public issues discourse method on the complexity of citizens' reasoning and local political development
Author
Ross, Sara Nora
Number of pages
217
Publication year
2007
Degree date
2007
School code
1414
Source
DAI-B 68/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Advisor
Lohr-Murphy, Cherie
University/institution
Union Institute and University
University location
United States -- Ohio
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3251492
ProQuest document ID
304702099
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304702099
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.