Webinar: Taking Deliberations Online

As part of the City-ESS-NatCen methodology series, this webinar explored some of the benefits and limitations of taking deliberations online.
  • Event time:
    27th May 2021 12:00 GMT Standard Time – 13:00 GMT Standard Time
  • Format:


As part of our survey methodology seminar series - organised with City, University of London and NatCen Social Research - a webinar was held on Thursday 27 May 2021.

Event Series: City, University of London - European Social Survey HQ - NatCen Social Research survey methodology seminar series.

In the last decade or so, studies into deliberation and the internet have grown in quantity, with interest in the potential this might hold to address some of the limitations of face to face approaches, not least issues of scale, cost and inclusion.

Much of this work has been based on internet discussion forums and the use of videoconferencing as a mode for online deliberation had, until 12 months ago at least, remained largely unexplored. In the context of the covid-19 pandemic, finding ways to maintain deliberative processes whilst socially distant has accelerated; but not with a great deal of detailed methodological scrutiny.

This webinar explored some of the benefits and limitations of taking deliberations online and the recent received best practice in the practical aspects of what enables or constrains people’s participation.

It sketched out some of the areas that would benefit from further methodological development including the extent to which online approaches can demonstrate that effective conditions for deliberation can be achieved this way.

Recent projects were drawn on to illustrate these considerations, including ESRC funded Future of Britain research.

This work has used Deliberative Polling with over 380 members of the public to explore what they want to see happen post-Brexit in a number of policy areas hitherto subject to EU regulation.


  • Ceri Davies
    Director of the Centre for Deliberation National Centre for Social Research
    View full profile

    Ceri is interested in how the public has a voice in the decisions that shape their lives – be that through democratic means, in policy development, understanding the implications of science and technology and influencing or contributing to the questions that researchers ask. 

    She has been working at the intersection of evidence and practice in public participation for over 15 years, through roles in community development, in social research and on not-for-profit boards. The creation and her leadership of the Centre for Delberation continues this general theme – with a focus on bringing social science rigour to an innovative range of research on public attitudes and policy making in the context of democratic innovation.

    The Centre's current work tackles large scale societal issues, such as Brexit, the environment and inequalities, bringing diverse perspectives into conversation with evidence at local and national scales, to explore complex or contentious social issues that impact policy, support the articulation of social attitudes and make a difference to society. Alongside this, the Centre is a national leader in methodological developments, particularly the use of online methods - and provides fresh thinking on how deliberative research can respond to big societal questions now and in the future.    This includes experimental work such as our ground-breaking online Deliberative Polls on post-Brexit policy making and participating in the Rethinking Public Dialogue programme to explore how deliberation might be scaled through creating rapid and accessible formats. 

    With a background in academia and civil society, Ceri previously led the University of Brighton’s Community Knowledge Exchange (2008-2018) and completed her doctorate exploring knowledge and power in participatory research on issues of social justice. She is a volunteer at Sussex Nightstop (a small charity developing community-based responses to homelessness), an associate editor of Research For All and an advisory board member of the Citizens Convention on UK Democracy.