Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 20 Issue 4 (July/August 2010), Pages 249-332

Public involvement: How to encourage citizen participation (pages 262-274)


The study was aimed at identifying the impact of a pool of variables on the willingness of the participants in five consultative arenas (Open Space Technology) to become involved in future experiences of civic engagement. The study also intended to verify whether such willingness varied among subgroups of participants. In total, 194 participants (49.5% men, 50.5% women; mean age = 37.04) were recruited during five OSTs held in Italy between May and November 2008 and asked to fill in a questionnaire composed of the following measures: perceived costs and benefits, emotions, sense of community, trust in institutions and need for cognitive closure. Findings suggested that the setting‐related variables—namely the perception of costs and benefits and the arousal of positive feelings—were more influential than the community‐related variables, such as sense of community and trust in institutions. Indications and suggestions for the design, implementation and evaluation of participatory settings were discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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