Maria Clara Jaramillo and Jürg Steiner
The deliberative theory of democracy has been developed by philosophers like Jürgen Habermas. There was much philosophical discussion about the preconditions and consequences of this model of democracy. In order to get an empirical handle at these philosophical speculations, one needed to develop an instrument to measure the level of deliberation in group discussions. This we have done with the Discourse Quality Index (DQI), which measures the various deliberative elements such as unconstrained speaking time for all participants, good justifications of arguments, respect for the arguments of others, reference to the common good, and openness to the force of the better argument. With the DQI one can measure the level of deliberation of the individual participants and at the aggregate level for entire discussion groups. To get at the internal dynamic of group discussions with the ups and downs of the level of deliberation we developed the concept of Deliberative Transformative Moments (DTM).