From passive subject to active agent: the potential of Citizens' Juries for nursing research

Nurse Educ Today. 2007 Oct;27(7):788-95. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2006.10.012. Epub 2006 Dec 8.


The nursing profession needs to have a greater appreciation of how techniques such as Citizens' Juries can be used in nursing research. This paper explains the concept of Citizens' Juries and how it is being used as a form of social research, that can simultaneously increase public participation in policy making. Participation has become a key component of the discourse in policy making, and public participation initiatives can be one way of bridging the democratic deficit. For nursing, Citizens' Juries offer a way of discovering lay people's considered judgment on key policy issues, while also providing a potentially powerful platform for citizens to express their concerns and priorities, thereby influencing the services they receive. A Citizens' Jury brings together a small group of people over a period of time and presents them with a policy question. The jurors listen to expert witnesses, examine the evidence, deliberate on the issues and arrive at a policy decision or set of recommendations. In this paper we argue that any ordinary person given the opportunity, enough time and the necessary resources can make decisions about complex policy matters. Key findings from two Citizens' Juries on genetics in Wales are offered as case studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Committee Membership
  • Community Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Community Participation / methods*
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration
  • Expert Testimony
  • Focus Groups / methods*
  • Health Planning Councils / organization & administration*
  • Health Planning Guidelines
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Research / organization & administration*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Design
  • State Medicine / organization & administration
  • Wales