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Joint fact finding

Joint fact finding defines an approach to bring different – conflicting – parties together, to jointly establish a strategy to find facts, and to derive an agreement.

Strength of the method:The method helps to find a common ground when facts are disputed.
To be considered:
  • The method has been designed to be led by a governmental body (as convener) who is then accountable for the output (e.g. an evidence-informed agreement). When the td research team does not closely collaborate with a governmental body, the method has to be adapted (please contact us for support: td-methods@scnat.ch).
  • The method is more useful for fact-centered problems than value-centered problems (accord3.0 Network, https://bit.ly/3dd8cZK).
  • The method strives for consensus (whereas td research may want to depict both – consensus and dissent).
  • The method is similar to consensus conferences.

Read here about the rationale of the brief factsheets (in comparison to method profiles of the td-net toolbox):

Goal:The method aims at producing an evidence-informed agreement on a contested issue.
Location in td process phases:The method can be applied as stand-alone fact finding exercise in the problem framing and problem analysis phase. If it is “embedded in collaborative efforts to seek consensus around policy and planning matters“ Matsuura/Schenk 2017, p. 4), it may rather be seen as an approach to which td research contributes (than a method within td research).
Bridging thought styles:The method helps to bridge thought styles by providing guiding principles for collaboration and stating from the beginning that an agreement – e.g. with respect to policy implications – must be reached.
Time required to implement the method:several days
Preparation requiered:

Extensive, e.g. data gathering and organisation of several meetings

Expertise required:

High moderation skills

Convener should be considered as legitimate decision-maker by the involved parties.

Convener & participants:Convener: governmental body
Participants: stakeholder, researcher

The open access User's Guide to Joint Fact Finding provides a first overview and examples of application. The User’s Guide describes the overall procedure, but further reading is needed to be able to apply the method, e.g. see further, descriptions of the concrete process steps, consult: Matsuura M, Schenk T 2017: Joint Fact-Finding in Urban Planning and Environmental Disputes (not open access)

Resource compilation in which it appears:

Provided by:Peter Adler, with reference to Andrews Clinton J (2002) and Herman Karl A, Susskind, Lawrence E, Wallace, Katherine H (2007), amongst others
Recommended by:Christian Pohl