Research, evaluation, and beyond: thinking big and small at the 2014 PB Conference

Who participates? How do cities compare? How can we make PB better?

This year’s PB conference brought together a diverse and passionate group of people to put their questions down on paper.

“Research Priorities: Evaluation and Beyond,” was a brainstorming session to inform the work of the North American PB Research Board. The board wanted to know:

What are the research questions and pieces of data that people think are most important and most interesting?

We began the session with presentations from four speakers who shared their international and local experiences of researching and evaluating PB.

As expected, the thinking inspired by these speakers lead to a wide range of questions including:

  • How does PB impact the likelihood of voting in future elections?
  • How do we incorporate technology into PB without excluding marginalized communities?
  • How do we get at equity?
  • Are power dynamics between government and citizens changing?
  • Does PB change people’s perceptions of community?
  • How do we measure the quality of deliberation among PB participants?

 

This new PB research board will collaboratively evaluate PB processes across the continent.

This new PB research board will collaboratively evaluate PB processes across the continent.

Public Agenda, PBP and the North American PB Research Board have outlined these next steps:

  • Every suggestion for research and evaluation put forward during this conference session has been documented. This fantastic list is now organized and sorted into overarching themes.
  • This research and evaluation session led to further brainstorming by the research board during their meeting on the Sunday immediately following the conference.
  • The outputs from both will inform the development of a list of key metrics for evaluating PB in North America. These brainstorming efforts will also help us to develop the necessary guide documents to support both current and future research and evaluation efforts.

Notes and slides from this session

This post is the first of four report-backs from the research and evaluation sessions. In the next blog entry, we’ll review the second conference session for research and evaluation: “Communicating and sharing PB research.”

Contact PBP Research Associate Madeleine Pape with any questions or suggestions: madeleine@participatorybudgeting.org