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Argument Visualisation to support democratic decision-making

Abstract

This paper investigates the extent to which technology can be designed to constructively inform and encourage debate on public policy issues. The research is innovative in that it aims at moving away from text-based information provision and consultations to a representation based on visualisation of arguments, providing graphical support for information and deliberation. Whether the public can benefit from, or is indeed willing to use, such visualisation techniques is very much a debate in itself. The development of policy can be described, in the terms of Horst Rittel, as a wicked problem. These types of problems require deliberative discussion. The purpose of this paper is to explore how Computer Supported Argument Visualisation (CSAV) can relate to parliamentary debates in order to assess the extent by which they affect the public's understanding of, and participation in, policy-making.