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Abstract

This paper details a content analysis scheme to measure the quality of political deliberation in face-to-face and online groups. Much of deliberation research studies the outcomes of deliberation, but there has been a lack of analysis of what groups actually do when tasked with deliberating. The coding scheme was developed out of the theoretical literature on deliberation and further enhanced by the empirical literature on small groups, deliberation, online political talk, and conversation analysis. Strict standards for creating coding schemes were followed to ensure a valid and reliable coding process. Results of the coding of deliberations on the topic of public schools suggest that participants produced a fairly high level of reasoned opinion expression, but not necessarily on the topic which they were asked to deliberate. It is hoped that the code scheme can be utilized by practitioners and researchers of political and social deliberations.

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