Defining Success for Public Participation Programs

  • Martin Schweitzer
  • Sam A. Carnes
  • Elizabeth B. Peelle
  • Amy K. Wolfe
  • John F. Munro


To measure the success of ongoing efforts to involve the public in government decision making, it is crucial to first define what is meant by "success." In a recent study, the authors asked participants in US Department of Energy (DOE) public participation programs nationwide to help identify different attributes of success and to rate their importance. Based on our analysis of the responses, we suggest that future evaluations focus on a set of seven distinct attributes that, in combination, accurately portray the accomplishments of public participation efforts.