Involving the public: When are surveys and stakeholder interviews effective?

Nicole Darnall, G. Jason Jolley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Scholars and practitioners alike advocate involving stakeholders in environmental decision making, although there is uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of public involvement tools and the degree of public involvement in the decision making process. Some researchers have gone a step further to promote the use of public surveys and stakeholder interviews as preferred means to include public concerns in environmental decision making. However, there is little evidence as to whether public involvement tools are effective at representing public preferences, especially when there is a shortage of technical information to inform public opinion. This study examines the effectiveness of surveys and stakeholder interviews for assessing the District of Columbia's environmental problems in a comparative risk assessment. The findings suggest that these public involvement tools are less effective when there is a shortage of technical data. Instead, more deliberative forms of public involvement may generate greater convergence of opinion regarding environment problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-593
Number of pages13
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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