Associate Professor

Dept. of Communication Arts and Sciences
The Pennsylvania State University


Evaluating the Effectiveness of the CIR [1]

When implemented, the Citizen Initiative Review (CIR) should be evaluated on its own terms. The best way to judge the effectiveness of the CIR is to assess the extent to which it achieves the two goals it was designed to meet—sound judgments, influential information for voters. The CIR might yield additional benefits by changing how citizens, public officials, and campaign professionals think and act.

Social scientific research can evaluate the CIR in terms of a series of predictions. Click on any of the five sets of predictions to see what should happen if the CIR is successful. [The type of data used to make each evaluation is written in brackets.]

   Critical Goals
     1. Reaching Sound Judgments [data type: analysis of panel deliberations]
     2. Producing Influential Information [election result analysis]

   Additional Potential Benefits
     3. Transforming Public Attitudes and Habits [survey research]
     4. Changing Public Officials [interviews with officials; legislative analysis]
     5. Altering Strategic Political Choices [field research on campaign organizations]

Evaluation Design Team [2]

In the Summer/Autumn of 2006, an academic review board will revise, develop, and detail these preliminary evaluation guidelines. The faculty who will be undertaking this task include:

John Gastil, Evaluation Team Organizer, U Washington (Dept of Communication)

Don A. Dillman, Washington State U (Sociology and Community & Rural Sociology
   and the Deputy Director of the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center)
Todd Donovan, Western Washington U (Dept of Pol Science)
Laura Evans, U Washington (Evans School of Public Affairs)
Carolyn N. Long, Washington State U - Vancouver (Program in Public Affairs)
Nicholas Lovrich, Washington State U (Dept of Political Science)
Matthew Manweller, Central Washington U (Dept of Pol Science)
John Matsusaka, U of Southern California (President, Initiative and Referendum
   Institute and Professor of Business and Law)
Patricia Moy, U Washington (Dept of Communication)
Travis Ridout, Washington State U (Dept of Pol Science)
Todd Schaefer, Central Washington U (Dept of Pol Science)
Mark Smith, U Washington (Dept of Pol Science)
Michael Treleaven, Gonzaga U (Pol Science Dept)

[1] This draft evaluation document is adapted from Chapter 9 of By Popular Demand: Revitalizing Representative Democracy through Deliberative Elections (U California Press, 2000). Draft date: February 16, 2006.

[2] None of these faculty--nor their respective colleges or universities--are responsible for the content on this site.

Printable summary of Proposed CIR Evaluation