Kettering Project
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Painting the Landscape:  A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Public-Government Decision-making
An IAP2 - Kettering Research Project

Project Executive Summary Project Timeline
Letter to Interview Candidates Project Overview Presentation
Ethical Protections Form Interview Instructions

Project Meeting Notes
 July 31, 2006 Call

Project Overview

In early 2005 the International Association for Public Participation and The Kettering Foundation began work on a joint research project that explores public-government decision making in seven country/regions of the world: Africa, Australasia, Canada, Latin America, Southeast Asia, UK/Western Europe and the United States.   

The intent behind “Painting the Landscape” reflects the larger strategic missions of both IAP2 and the Kettering Foundation. For IAP2, this research project will lay a foundation for future research initiatives on behalf of the organization’s 1,000 members worldwide. The project also supports the Kettering Foundation’s research with professional administrators and public officials who see that utilizing key democratic practices to bridge the gap between the public and the formal institutions of government is essential to their work.  Please refer to the IAP2 ( and Kettering Foundation ( websites for additional information about each organization’s respective missions.  

The research will address the following questions:

  1. What does public participation, in government decision-making processes, mean in different cultural contexts?
  2. How do different cultures provide space for public participation in government decision-making processes?
  3. What positive/negative outcomes occur as a result of public participation in government decision-making processes?  

This research will build on the existing evidence base to address these questions. As such, our first task was to prepare an annotated literature review on this topic. Working from literature review findings, field work in 2006 will involve conducting semi-structured one-on-one interviews with government representatives (elected officials and administrators), public participation practitioners and non-governmental organization representatives.  Data will be collected in each country/region by a select number of interviewers who will work closely with a country/region coordinator.  Pilot-testing of the data collection, the development of an interview protocol and standardised training for all interviewers and country/region coordinators will ensure internal and external validity.  

Additional questions about the project should be directed to Beth Offenbacker, project director, at

Kettering Foundation

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