Mini-Public Replication: Emotions and Deliberation in the Citizens’ Initiative Review Redux

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Scholars have increasingly urged researchers to evaluate prior findings through replication studies that can help test, refine, and extend claims made in previous research. We agree that this is an important aspect of social science that deliberative scholarship has underutilized. To help fill this lacuna, we test our previous findings from an analysis of data from Citizen Initiative Reviews (CIRs) in 2016 by replicating our methodology on data from CIRs in 2018. We set out to determine if the results we discovered earlier and developed into the Deliberative Procedures Frame theory appeared again in the 2018 CIRs. We find several repeating patterns, including consistent levels of enthusiasm, slow-rising happiness, and the relationship between happiness on the final day and participants’ evaluations of deliberative quality, and these indicate that our theory remains a viable explanation for emotions in mini-public deliberation. While we discover some differences between the two sets of data—the most common mid-level reported emotion was anger in 2016 and sympathy in 2018—we remain confident that many of the claims identified in our previous analysis remain correct. Based on this replication, we clarify that what we call the Deliberative Procedures Frame enables the identification of the times during deliberation when participants are most likely to experience emotions such as anger, happiness, and sympathy, and thus, those moments that are probably the most crucial to ensuring quality deliberation in mini-publics. Anger and sympathy are most likely to occur during the middle periods of deliberation in which participants interact intensely with outside experts, advocates, and their fellow participants, while happiness is most likely to arise at the end of deliberation when participants successfully complete the process.