Where are we now and what next for online deliberative methods?

Our online launch event provided an engaging exploration of online deliberative research methods.
  • Event time:
    23rd June 2021 12:00 GMT Standard Time – 13:00 GMT Standard Time
  • Format:

Our Centre for Deliberative Research focuses on uncovering attitudes after citizens have been provided with evidence and an opportunity to discuss the issues with experts and others. We also bring expertise in wider participatory methods and public engagement across a range of policy areas and aim to deliver a portfolio of advocacy work on public participation and citizen engagement.


This launch event provides an engaging exploration of online deliberative research methods with presentations from Ceri Davies, Director of the new Centre; Dr Alice Siu, a leading academic in the field of deliberative research from Stanford University; and Prof Alison Park, the Interim Executive Chair of the ESRC.

The event was chaired by NatCen’s Gerry Nicolaas and featured additional contributions from discussants Marian Barnes, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, University of Brighton; Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics and Senior Fellow at NatCen; and Reema Patel, Associate Director at the Ada Lovelace Institute.

Presentation slides

NatCen Centre for Deliberative Research launch_Ceri Davies (.ppt)

Deliberative methods and social science research_Alison Park (.ppt)

Deliberative democracy, deliberative polling and scaling deliberation_Alice Siu (.pdf)



  • 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.

  • Dr Alice Siu
    Stanford University
  • Prof Alison Park
    Interim Executive Chair ESRC