Involving many people in community-based research provides many benefits, such as more labor power and increased buy-in. Traditional meeting formats, however, are not well suited to attracting broad engagement. One way to address this challenge is to instead employ self-organizing meeting processes, which are designed to invite active participation from attendees, and do not predefine the agenda. This article describes three such processes, 1) Open Space Technology, 2) World Café, and 3) Dynamic Facilitation, followed by my observations on their advantages and disadvantages when employed in community-based research efforts. Their use requires giving up a great amount of control when compared with traditional, topdown meeting approaches, and may result in actions beyond, or even excluding, research. The strong possibility of failing to address organizers’ own short-term goals, however, should be balanced with the higher likelihood of achieving the broader community’s long-term goals.
Howard, Philip. 2012. "Increasing Community Participation with Self-Organizing Meeting Processes." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 27(2): Article 8. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol27/iss2/8