We’ve compiled a range of community participation techniques & tools to take your pick from. Feel free to use some, a combination, or make up your own ideas to get people talking about the future of Scotland.
In addition to recording essential information such as how many people attended consultation sessions, gender, age and ethnicity you might want to consider the following:
- Use digital cameras to visually capture the process (remembering to get people’s permission first)
- Create an exhibition or a piece of art using some of the work created through the consultation sessions
- Film the consultation sessions; produce a short film highlighting the outcomes, share across the web, social media sites, and/or create a DVD at the end of the project; share with local people/politicians/decision-makers/media
- Ask artists/ facilitators to keep their own record of the consultation sessions– perhaps using a sketchbook or a notebook, then ask for a copy
- Create a consultation ‘Guest book’ asking participants and artists/ facilitators to record their thoughts and feelings at the end of each session; use quotes in reports, press releases, blogs, web articles
Download Community Engagement Tools
- Template Event article: Download this article to get started with your event promotion
- Template Web/blog article on Future of Scotland: Download this template article to inform your community how to engage with the Future of Scotland campaign
- Template Press Release on Future of Scotland related event: Download this media engagement pack to help get local coverage on your Future of Scotland event, including tips on how to engage with the media
- Future of Scotland Supporter Logo: Show your support for the Future of Scotland campaign by sporting the ‘Supporter Logo’ badge on your website, blog, social networks
- Template Future of Scotland survey: Download this template survey, feel free to add your own questions. Don’t forget to collate your results into a short report and send back to us
- Request flyers: Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get some free promotional flyers
- Promotional posters: Download and print this poster to promote the campaign, Download and print this poster for events promotion
- Download all our resources: Download everything now
To reach out to your community why not try all, or a mixture of the following processes:
- Run a focus group/s: Small-group discussions can give in-depth information and views on a specific topic. Run in small groups, they can be a helpful addition to surveys as they will allow any emerging issues to be explored in more depth. Examples of how to run a focus group can be found below
- Host a community workshop/s or a street stall: Request flyers by emailing us at email@example.com; Download event promotional/Future of Scotland information posters above
Survey your networks: You can download a template survey now to survey your friends, colleagues, and service users. Feel free to adapt and modify this template to suit your own needs. You could host it on Surveymonkey, or use hard copies, whichever suits your user base. Don’t forget to promote across your networks using e-bulletins, social media and word of mouth. Send your results to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spread the word: Download our ready-made articles now; use them on websites, blogs, e-bulletins etc when you’re trying to the the word out about Future of Scotland campaign, and events your running. Don’t forget to use your social networks to spread the word, and to let us know your running an event
- Host a guest speaker/ Q & A: Future of Scotland may be able to provide a speaker from the campaign steering group, email us at at email@example.com to tell us more about your event ideas
- Host an online debate: Take your ideas online to host a discussion on the Future of Scotland. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other social networking sites can provide great platforms for communities to gather and talk, ask questions and run polls. Future of Scotland can help you use your social media to talk independence debate, drop us a email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion Group Techniques
- Scenario Planning: a technique that tests out a number of “future scenarios” for a situation or a community. Participants work in small groups to envisage what things will be like in the future under a range of proposed scenarios. Read a how-to-guide
- Priority Search: Priority Search is a way of using focus groups and surveys to identify the most important issues to communities or residents in a particular area. Read a how-to-guide
- Appreciative Inquiry: Appreciative Inquiry is a way of organising a group discussion to focus on the positive aspects of the issue being discussed. Read a how-to-guide
Community Empowerment Discussion Toolkit: Developed in association with Inspire East this example aims to help groups to work together to decide on what issues are important to them in their community. It generates ideas so groups can go on to plan activities and services for their local area. For inspiration in designing your own community discussions, look at their toolkit now
- Open House Events involve using a local venue as a drop in center, allowing people to gather information and share their views. The principle is that people are able to attend whenever and for as long as they wish, making involvement more accessible to a wider cross section of the community. At the event, people should have the opportunity to gather information – for example through stalls and displays – as well as share their views – for example through workshops running throughout the day or surveys available online & offline.
- Open space events bring together a range of people, to discuss issues around a central theme, for example what an independent Scotland could be like. The events are based around workshops that participants create and manage themselves. Events are based on a central theme and participants agree on issues that are important. These are prioritised to form workshops for the event. Although it appears to be flexible and informal, there are strong reporting and recording structures in place. Events can be one-off or run over a period of time.
- Interactive displays can be a useful technique for involving people who are not used to being consulted on their views, or who may be less confident about expressing their views using more traditional engagement methods. In particular, methods such as graffiti/comment walls can prove an innovative way of gathering the views of young people. It could simply involve giving people the opportunity to ask questions about the display – for example through setting up a stall. Other methods can also be used – such as stickers, comment cards or graffiti walls which allow people to write or draw their views on the display.
- Opinion Surveys involve people responding to a questionnaire either through completing a form, answering the questions in an interview, or using online tools like SurveyMonkey. Future of Scotland has provided a template survey here, downloading the survey now. You can adapt the questions to fit your own needs too. Don’t forget to send us your results, contact us
- The LENS method allows issues arising from opinion surveys to be explored in more detail and potential solutions to be examined. Participants are initially asked to respond to a series of set questions about a theme. Respondents can then attend panel meetings where responses to the survey are discussed and priorities for action identified.
Using arts and innovation in the community
Use arts and crafts to express and engage your community.
- Story Dialogue: This approach involves bringing together people with different experiences of an issue to raise awareness and create understanding. Story dialogue involves sharing experiences of a particular issue. It can be a way of raising awareness about an issue, for example if you wish to get people involved in community safety issues, you may wish to bring together all the different people who have a view on an issue like street safety at night, for example the police, ambulance staff, social workers, bar staff, young people, older people and so on. A critical part of the story dialogue approach is to ensure that all participants are able to put across their views and experiences in a non-judgmental setting.
- Graphic Recording is a way of recording discussions at an event through use of symbols and pictures. Graphic recording involves the use of a person to represent the ongoing discussions at an event through using symbols or pictures. The pictures are drawn during the discussions for all to see, meaning that people have the opportunity to see what people are saying. This approach is particularly useful for anyone who has literacy difficulties, learning difficulties or people for whom English is not their first language.
- Participatory drama can be used to increase interest in a topic particularly among individuals or target groups that may not engage through traditional methods such as public meetings. People are involved in developing a play that it is relevant to their circumstances, area or main issues. During performances, the audience is encouraged to participate so that there is interaction and debate.
- The Yellow Brick Wall: participants write or draw onto the yellow bricks ideas about the subject of the consultation and attach them to the wall
- Spinning a web: Participants write or draw their ideas onto a luggage tag and place their tag on the web according to how important their idea is to them. The most important being near the centre
- Branching out (based on mindmap): Cut out a tree template and place on the wall. Each branch reflects an aspect of the topic. Participants write their ideas on leaves and place them on the relevant branches, or can add more branches. Discuss results
Ideas for open/ drop in sessions
- On Target: similar to the web technique, using concentric colourful circles on the wall. Participants write down ideas or stick symbols/drawings on posts then place them on the wall target, based on importance (most important being near the centre)
- Arts & crafts: use crafts to creatively represent aspects of a topic, display on a line using pegs
- Let your feet do the talking: make a path with paper on the floor. On cut-out foot prints, participants write down ideas about positive changes towards a goal. For instance, a goal could be to live in a healthier Scotland; the steps to achieve this could then be more partnership working between the public and voluntary sector, more devolved powers for x,y,z health services, increased consistency of health care provision across local authorities, etc.
Ideas for sessions working with specific groups over a specified time period
- A thousand words: Ask participant to take photos or draw about the topic. Run a follow-up discussion about the photos and drawings, reasons of choices and possible changes about them. Put together in an exhibition, share them online using social networking sites: Flickr, Instagram, Facebook timeline, Twitter
- A place of our own: Participants build a 3D model of the topic, for example the perfect home in Scotland; add objects and symbols inside and around it to illustrate aspects of the theme; discuss
- Cover version: Participants draw or make a collage on a blank CD cover card about the topic. Ask them to write acknowledgments on a second card, along with lyrics or poems about the topic. Place in CD cover; Discuss.
- Vox Box: short Q/A session, can be recorded using a video camera device, or an audio recorder. Could be created into a short film & shared on social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter
- Design for Real: mostly used for community planning using models of the town, but could be used to build an ‘ideal Scotland’, with physical representations of agencies, political bodies, communities, etc