The concept of "public participation" is currently one of great interest to researchers and policy makers. In response to a perceived need for greater public involvement in decision making and policy formation processes on the part of both policymakers and the general public, a variety of novel mechanisms have been developed, such as the consensus conference and citizens jury, to complement traditional mechanisms, such as the public meeting. However, the relative effectiveness of the various mechanisms is unclear, as efforts at evaluation have been sparse. In this article, the authors describe an evaluation of a two-day "deliberative conference" on the topic of radiation dose assessment. The authors detail the evaluation framework that they adopt and describe the instruments that they have developed to determine the attainment (or otherwise) of the evaluationcriteria stipulated in that framework. They then describe the participation exercise that they have evaluated. Finally, they apply the instruments to assess the effectiveness of the exercise, and discuss the results and their implications for the conduct of evaluations and the use of this particular participation mechanism.
- citizen participation