ing or evaluating their effectiveness, and without providing opportunities to make modifications if they are not working well. We therefore conclude that best practice should not be seen as a matter of adopting particular techniques that have performed well in the past and making them standard operating procedures. Rather, it involves implementing a process that selects techniques for the situation at hand in ways that are informed by evidence, that the participants consider legitimate, and that are open to modification for cause. Selecting “best practice” techniques and implementing them without involving the participants can undermine the legitimacy of public participation processes. In Chapter 9, we recommend such a process.



1As elsewhere, we use the term agency broadly to refer to any entity or group of entities, governmental or not, that convene public participation processes or that may use their results.


2An evaluation of the results can be found at

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