Past or ongoing participatory experiences show a big variety in types as well as in their main thematic issue. A major constraint in the practice of citizens’ participation is lack of know-how regarding the approach and means to carry out participation. Different needs require different approaches. In response to changing public expectations, it is necessary to improve the ability to consult, engage, listen, persuade and reframe issues so that the results of the work better meet citizens’ expectations and needs.
Each participatory procedure and every ‘level of decision’ implies different requirements and conditions for public participation and influences the implementation of participatory procedures differently, including:
- the choice of methods
- the types of participants involved;
- the design of organisational structures and processes;
- the target audiences;
- the types of outcomes.
- Aims (rationale, objectives, goals)
- Methods (tools, techniques, arrangements) appropriate for participation;
- Participants suitable for involvement;
- Outcomes realistically to be achieved;
- Organisation (design, implementation, dissemination of results, budget) required;
- Evaluation (re: process, outcomes, impacts)
Thus training tools have to be available for a variety of ‘users’ to enable them to mobilise the lessons learned in diverse situations. CIPAST therefore has decided to put case studies at the core of the training and to focus on a process of active and participative learning.
The Case Study methodology is heuristic: instead of providing the knowledge, the facilitator creates the conditions for self-guided learning within the group. He presents a problematic situation, a situation as a problem to be solved, for which no solution is given. Learning results are made from reflection and the common sharing of experiences. Case Study learning therefore complements other theoretical or descriptive methodologies of learning about public participation.
Support materials must be read actively, since the objective is thinking, rather than drawing the information. The group will propose a solution based upon the analysis of the situation. The group identifies and defines the problem for itself (framing) and the group proposal is made according to this analysis (taking into account what was presented about the case). In order to justify the proposal, knowledge on participatory methods and tools is also necessary.
The case study model was first tested in a workshop in Dresden 2006 and then revised for a second workshop 2007 in Procida (Naples), Italy. Before being offered to an international audience the model of case studies’ learning and teaching was tested successfully with students in London (Westminster University) and in Paris (Sciences Po and EHESS).
A workshop on the training of doing public participation has not necessarily to be restricted to the case studies offered in this training package. But for developing own case studies some general aspects have to be considered.
Guidelines for setting up a case study based training workshop
The aim of the case study exercise is not a training in participatory methodologies but aims at getting participants actively involved in the learning process so that they become aware of some of the difficulties of design and implementation of public participation in practice. Conceived as a problem-solving exercise, the idea is to develop tools that enable participants to work in small groups with the assistance of a moderator. The case leaders propose a set of tasks to be performed by participants using the support materials and create the conditions for a rich interaction on each case. The support material for each case study should be provided in advance.
First of all, and in order to put the participants in a real-like situation, the nature of the demand that is used for the participatory exercise should be established:
- Where does the demand for the participatory procedure come from? Was it a research institution, a local authority, a governmental body or any other?
- Which are the limits in terms of means and time ?
Usually a workshop situation does not allow participants to spend too much time to agree upon how to deal with the given demand. Time for the preparation of their response accordingly is limited. Support materials therefore should sent or made available well in advance. These support materials will serve learners getting familiarised with the issue before the workshop. It also should be envisioned as a base to enhance the group discussion. The support material should contain the following items:
- A brief document with less than 10 pages presenting:
- The overall context: the issue at large in a general frame. Example: The Vine and Wine Universe in the Current French Context (for GM Vines) link. Within this large context, it can be roughly underlined what is at stake.
- A general description of the concerned and/or involved actors.
It is important that the workshop organizers or trainers clearly define what the participants’ tasks are. Exercises, for instance, can be:
- To reframe the issue, from the large contextualisation given by original organizers (in the support materials) to a more specific one, including comments on the more relevant aspects,
- to select and evaluate the main concerned actors and their positions,
- to describe the procedure to be used and justify the choice, or
- to prepare the press release announcing the participative experience (what is expected and how it will be carried on).
Case studies in this training package
‘CIPAST in Practice’ is a culmination of insights gained from work experience across Europe. It tries to provide concrete solutions to problems participants face when they try to implement participatory exercises. To facilitate further enquiries and information exchanges, this training package also provides as a resource persons who may be contacted to guide the selection and application of public involvement techniques.
‘CIPAST in Practice’ offers 6 case studies ready to use in training seminars. The support material for each of the 6 case studies was reviewed and edited for this hand-out.
The case studies were selected from the pool of contributions for the CIPAST training workshops for a good diversity, regarding the initiators of the procedure, the scope (European/national/local, different national cultures) of the participatory process, its focus on framing, methodologies, designing, or evaluation and its evidence regarding its range and degree of application.
For each case study the user will find a description of the organisation which ran the real life project and prepared the case study. Each case study represents one way how to tackle a problem according to the constraints and conditions. The user will get guidance how to use the materials and where and what it was produced for. Limits of applicability will be described. The ‘users’ manual’ for each case study will also describe how it can be applied in a learning situation and how to work with ID card or working material. It will include the initial presentation held during the workshop if available and applicable, as well as outcomes in reality, support material and pedagogical support such as guiding questions.