ABSTRACT

Qualitative research techniques are commonly used by planners in their citizen participation projects. Citizen participation is a critical step in the plan-making process and is when planners integrate multiple community perspectives in the development and assessment of plans and public policies to make them more relevant and representative of those who are impacted by them. Planners use qualitative techniques in their citizen participation projects for one of three purposes. First, planners use qualitative techniques when they seek multiple community perspectives as guidance for developing policy and optimizing the implementation of plans and projects. Second, planners use qualitative techniques to access community input for the purpose of generating data slices as part of their qualitative research projects. Third, the community aspect inherent in qualitative research methods helps equalize the unequal power relationship between the planner and the community and this is part of the intent of citizen participation.