The Center for Democratic Deliberation sponsors lectures, conferences, publications, and other scholarly activities related to its research mission. Providing both material and intellectual support for faculty and graduate students engaged in research on issues of concern to the Center, it defines its research agenda broadly and encourages faculty from across the humanities and social sciences to participate in its programs. Scholars whose research relates to the mission of the Center are encouraged to contact the directors with ideas or questions about the Center.
The areas of research relevant to the Center's mission include (but are not limited to):
- Historical studies of efforts to promote democratic deliberation, such as the democratic reform initiatives of the Progressive Era or the 1960s.
- Studies of the relationship between new media technologies and changes in the character and quality of public discourse.
- Studies of the barriers to inclusive and productive deliberation, or studies of ways to overcome the differences of gender, class, race, and culture that create obstacles to democratic deliberation.
- Studies of historical and contemporary campaign discourse (speeches, advertising, and news coverage) and the relationship between campaign discourse and citizen attitudes toward politics and voting.
- Studies of the impact of public opinion and polling on political campaigns and public policy debates, including questions about the viability of democratic deliberation in an age of political disaffection or questions about the effects of public opinion polling on public deliberation.
- Studies of the relationship between governmental activity and media agendas, public opinion, and public advocacy.
- Studies of social movements and their role in democratic deliberation.
- Studies of media content and how the institutional structures and practices of contemporary journalism affect democratic deliberation, including studies of agenda-setting, "bias" in the news, and alternative models of journalistic practice, such as “public” or “civic” journalism.
- Studies of news consumption habits and the relationship between media habits and political attitudes and patterns of civic engagement and deliberation, particularly among young people.
- Studies of the historical and civic literacy of the citizenry and the efficacy of various educational and outreach initiatives designed to promote engaged democratic citizenship.
- Studies of free speech and the political, legal, and cultural constraints on democratic deliberation, including such issues as free speech in wartime, "hate speech" on campuses, and the balance between the public’s “right to know” and privacy rights, respect for religious or ethnic sensitivities, and national security concerns.