Chapter 21. e-Dialogues: Real-Time Online Conversations

Ann Dale, Jason Luckerhoff, and François Guillemette

Ann Dale holds a Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development at Royal Roads University. A widely published author, she has led the development of a series of book compilations on sustainable community development, beginning with Achieving Sustainable Development in 1995. Her book At the Edge: Sustainable Development in Canada received the 2001 Policy Research Initiative Award for Outstanding Research Contribution to Public Policy. She is recognized in Canada for her work in online dialogue and proactive research dissemination.

Jason Luckerhoff is an Assistant Professor of Culture and Communication at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. He has co-edited a journal issue of Society and Leisure on non-publics of culture and two issues of Recherches Qualitatives on focus groups. He has published in journals such as Museum Management and CuratorshipLes Cahiers du Journalisme, Recherches Qualitatives, Leisure, Society & Leisure, Communication, and The Qualitative Report. He has taught at Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal (HEC Montréal), Université Laval and Villes et villages d’art et de patrimoine (VVAP). He is Vice President of the Association for Qualitative Research (Association pour la recherche qualitative).

Francois Guillemette is a Professor in the Department of Education at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and educational assistant to the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal (Mauricie Campus). He is President of the Association pour la recherche qualitative and Associate Professor at the Centre de Recherche Interuniversitaire sur la Formation et la Profession Enseignante (CRIFPE). A doctor of philosophy in both education and theology, he is currently researching the development of professional skills in higher education and the uses of grounded theory methodology by French researchers.

This chapter describes an e-research agenda and project that the first author developed in order to bridge some of the asymmetries of place, space, and scale that researchers at smaller universities face. In particular it explains the genesis and rationale for e-Dialogues, synchronous online conversations that bring together diverse experts and eminent personalities to talk about critical public-policy issues of the day, in particular sustainable development and ecological literacy. It then goes on to detail research collaboration between the authors of this chapter to evaluate what works and doesn’t work with these online critical conversations. It also describes, on a more practical level, how to use electronic platforms for transdisciplinary qualitative research teams.

Three specific questions informed this research project: can the internet be used to re-enlarge the public space for substantive dialogue; can it be used to increase public literacy about critical public-policy questions, specifically ecological literacy; and can the internet be used to inform public-policy development?

Visit e-dialogues

Further Readings

Dale, A., Newman, L. & Ling, C. (2010) Facilitating trans-disciplinary research teams through on-line collaboration. The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 11(1): 36-48

Dale, A. & L. Newman. 2007. Sustainable Development and On-Line Dialogue. In Tansey, J. & Robinson, J., Interactive Sustainability, London: Earthscan

Dale, A. and L. Newman. 2006. E-dialogues: a role in interactive sustainable development? The Integrated Assessment Journal, Bridging Sciences & Policy 6(4): 131-141

Dale, A. and L. Newman. 2006. An on-line synchronous e-Dialogue series on nuclear waste management in Canada. Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 5 (4): 243-251

Dale, A. 2005. A perspective on the evolution of e-Dialogues concerning interdisciplinary research on sustainable development in Canada. Ecology and Society, 10(1): 37, http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol10/iss1/art37/

Dale, A. and L. Newman. 2005. The Role of On-Line Dialogue in the Creation of Policy Alternatives. Canadian Review of Social Policy, Issue 55: 99-103

 Dale, A. and T. Naylor. 2005. Dialogue and Public Space: An Exploration of Radio and Information Communications Technologies. In Canadian Journal of Political Science, 38(1): 203-225