• Open Access

Assessing the impact of deliberative processes on the views of participants: is it ‘in one ear and out the other’?


Dr Tania Stafinski PhD
3201 Research Transition Facility
University of Alberta
8308-114 Street
Edmonton, AB T6G 2V2
E-mail: tanias@ualberta.ca.


Background  Interest in citizens’ juries for eliciting the views of the public to inform coverage decisions on new health technologies has grown. However, evaluative information, particularly regarding their short- and/or longer-term impact on participants’ views is limited. As citizens’ juries can be resource intensive, such information is required to make ‘evidence-based’ decisions about their use.

Objectives  To assess the impact of citizens’ juries on participants’ preferences for the distribution of health care across populations over time.

Setting and participants  Two citizens’ juries, involving a different representative sample of the public, were held. Participants completed identical questionnaires before (T1), directly after (T2) and 6 weeks following the jury (T3). Questionnaires comprised rating, ranking and choice-based questions related to four characteristics of competing patient populations (age, current health, life expectancy without treatment and health gain resulting from an intervention). Semi-structured telephone interviews were also conducted to explore the impact of the jury on participants’ distributive preferences. Changes in responses to the self-administered survey over the three time points were assessed quantitatively, while interview questions were analysed using qualitative techniques.

Results  No significant differences in responses to rating questions were observed. Pre/post-jury changes in the rankings of two factors were statistically significant in one of the juries. However, in both juries, T1–T2 changes in responses to several of the choice-based questions reached statistical significance. The number was lower between T2 and T3, suggesting that jurors retained their views. According to findings from the interviews, jurors’ views changed or were clarified through participation in the jury.

Conclusions  There appears to be evidence suggesting that the views of individuals who participate in citizens’ juries change as a result of the experience, and those ‘informed’ views are sustained.