West Virginia Center for Civic Life

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The West Virginia. Center for Civic Life is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helps engage our citizens in community discussions of important public issues that affect our state and nation.

Think. Talk. Act.

The importance of issue framing

Issue framing is rooted in the belief that democracy depends upon people making choices together about how to deal with problems in their communities. Framing an issue for public deliberation requires us to examine a problem from many angles. It encourages us to be curious about -- and even compassionate toward -- ideas that differ from our own, so that our deliberations may help us discover common ground for action.

When people sit down to work together to address complex issues in their community, it is important to have a common starting point for discussion that is accessible to all. The immediate goal of issue framing is to come up with a framework that helps us examine choices in light of what matters most to us. A well-framed issue will be inclusive of differing perspectives and will be framed in public terms that citizens can relate to.

The WV Center for Civic Life has worked with many organizations and groups of citizens to develop issue frameworks and discussion guides (click on "Issues" in the main menu above) used in a wide range of dialogue initiatives across the state. We assist with the development of public frameworks and issue guides that can be used in community discussions and community action planning. Contact Betty Knighton (knighton@wvciviclife.org) to discuss potential framing and dialogue initiatives on particular issues that require public dialogue and action in your community.

For more information on issue framing: