Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Gastil studies how people make decisions in small groups and methods for improving democracy. His work focuses on small deliberative bodies, such as juries, which give citizens the opportunity to consider serious public problems together. He has shared his research with nonprofit organizations, state legislatures, and democratic reformers around the globe, and has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the Kettering Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and public universities.
Assesses the effectiveness of the pilot CIR held in Massachusetts on a marijuana legalization ballot question in 2016.
Shows how public deliberation can encompass multiple cultural orientations and encourage participants to look beyond their biases to discover common ground--sometimes, but not always.
Shows that voters found the CIR Statements to be a useful alternative source of information, although they wanted to know more about the CIR process. Also, reading the CIR Statement inspired some to vote on ballot measures they might have skipped.
Demonstrates how the CIR addresses problems in the initiative system by providing substantive and influential critiques of proposed legislation.