Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



Currently the public is relegated to the electoral process, surveys and polls, and group participation in order to voice their agenda preferences. Various literatures describe the decreasing influence of the general public within the agenda setting portion of the policymaking process. This thesis assesses the agenda setting and public policy literatures in order to determine how issues become part of the policy agenda, looks to the public opinion literature to determine how capable the public is in being part of the policymaking process, and utilizes the deliberative democracy literature to construct deliberations that make it possible to get the public involved again in setting the agenda. A pre-test, post-test, treatment/control experimental method is used to conduct this preliminary research design that provides a template for creating public agenda preference deliberations. Participants are asked to rank their preferences concerning the national government’s agenda and discuss them in an open-issue deliberative setting designed to generate a dialogue that doesn’t require policy debate. Findings suggest that deliberations do cause participants to significantly change their preferences. Those participants who display openness to the deliberative process are especially likely to alter their preferences towards those issues discussed by the deliberative group. Finally, this thesis analyzes the findings and lists the benefits of creating agenda preference deliberations.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Xenos, Michael