Citizens’ juries were developed in the USA in the 1980s. They are a form of ‘participatory action research’ that involve facilitating deliberative dialogue with members of the public about a particular issue. Randomly selected members of the public are invited to act as ‘jury members’ and to hear from a range of expert ‘witnesses’ on the topic of discussion.
The jury members are encouraged to work together to ask the ‘witnesses’ questions about the evidence and ideas they have put forward and to challenge any claims that they are unsure about. Citizens’ Juries usually last several days and, towards the end of this period, jury members are encouraged to work together to try to reach a ‘verdict’ on the topic of discussion.
In this project, the focus of the Citizens’ Juries discussions was on health inequalities and potential policy responses to these inequalities. We undertook three Citizens’ Juries in July 2016, one in Glasgow, one in Liverpool and one in Manchester. Each jury lasted two days and involved 17-20 participants, as well as various researchers, health practitioners and advocates. We are currently analysing the data from these events.