The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue only when we have a position addressing it. If the members have not studied and come to consensus on it, the League has no position and therefore cannot take action. Studies (whether national, state, or local) are a defined process lasting one to three years, during which we undertake thorough pursuit of facts and details, both positive and negative, and come to consensus about policy.

A Study of Civil Discourse in San Luis Obispo County (2014)

                                                                                Civil Discourse Button                  

Summary of Study
After an intensive yearlong grassroots study, our League reached consensus on a definition and best practices that resulted in an update to our existing Position on Government that now includes, “Promote civil discourse through action and education for all government bodies, staff, and citizens for the purpose of improved public policy decisions and processes. Civil discourse means, at a minimum, mutually respectful, courteous, constructive, and orderly communication.”
 front shot of our Civil Discourse in the Public Arena brouchure

Resources for our Civil Discourse Study:

An annotated list of resources includes:

A Handbook on How to Adopt and Promote Civility and Civil Discourse in the Public Arena

Democracy in Dialogue is the PowerPoint used by the Civil Discourse Workshop presenters.

Applying Democracy in Dialogue contains principles of promoting dialogue taken from Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro.

Resource Guide: Democracy in Dialogue a comprehensive guide of books, websites, presentations, and guides about civil discourse.

A Study of Civil Discourse in San Luis Obispo County Our League study is available on the LWVEF Clearinghouse. Click here.

What Studies Are There?

Studies from across the nation are in our League of Women Voters Education Fund Clearinghouse for studies.

What Is The Study Process?

  1. Study Committee members fashion consensus questions that are then asked of the membership as part of a study kit. Kits often include articles, books, data in the form of charts and graphs, videos, suggested speakers, discussion questions, and other resources. Members use the study kit internally and often with their community to better understand the issue.
  2. Consensus is the overall decision-making process by which substantial agreement among members is reached on an issue. Often this happens over the course of several meetings, but may include surveys and other methods. If the members reach consensus, the board forms recommended positions based on that consensus. Those recommendations are submitted to the Study Committee.
  3. The Study Committee then reviews all the submissions. It works to form a consensus statement - the statement resulting from the consensus questions - that becomes a recommended position.
  4. That recommended position is then reviewed and voted on by our members (usually by delegates at our Convention). The proposal may be approved, amended, or be rejected at that time.
  5. If a position is adopted, firm action can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action can not be taken on that issue.

Read the national Guidelines for LWVUS Studies.