CHS: Small: Computer-supported Collective Deliberation for the Future of Work

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview. CISE research can advance the NSF calls for the future of work, technology at the human-interface frontier, convergence research, and broadening participation through development of social platforms that allow large groups of stakeholders to make better decisions.
Traditionally, many of our most important decisions about local government policy, or organization strategy, or interdisciplinary research projects are made by single individuals such as a mayor, CEO, or principal investigator. But taking into account the perspectives of multiple stakeholders can produce better decisions and greater “buy in” needed to implement decisions.
In the last few decades, research on deliberation has produced rigorous models such as deliberative polls that involve hundreds, even thousands of people making policy decisions, however, these techniques are slow and expensive, and can take days, even months to complete. Recent advances in CISE technologies (online communities, crowdsourcing, social media) could be used to make deliberation more feasible. To do so, technologies must overcome the challenges inherent in large group discussion such as combining contributions, motivating participants, and dealing with insufficient information.
This project proposes that deliberation platforms can increase the quality of decisions and consensus in multi-stakeholder decision making by using: (a) policy canvases for combining ideas (b) ranked-choice voting to dynamically form groups based on participant interests, and (c) iterating between decision-making discussion and information seeking supported by issue-tracking. This design-based research project will research and develop a working deliberation platform to help an organizational change management team improve the university experience for first-generation college students and develop policies for the city of Evanston to achieve its 2050 environmental sustainability goals, developing and testing theoretical design principles for deliberation platforms and working software to support large-group deliberation.
Keywords: deliberation, decision making, social computing

Intellectual merit. This project will extend theories at the human-interface frontier by developing new principles for socio-technical systems specifically for deliberation, where groups must not only create a solution and to create buy in to implement that decision. These principles will contribute to fundamental questions about multi-stakeholder coordination and decision-making in the fields of CSCW, political science, design, and organization studies.

Broader impact. This project will produce deliberation platforms that improve the ease with which organization can make multi-stakeholder decisions, to facilitate progress in the future of work, convergence research, and broader participation in computing.
Effective start/end date10/1/209/30/22


  • National Science Foundation (IIS 2008450)


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