Face-to-Face, Online, or Both?
General Type of Method
Informal conversation spaces
Experiential and immersive education
Deliberative and dialogic process
Typical Purpose
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Ascolto Attivo - Percorso partecipativo impianti di compostaggio a Roma
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
Number of Participants
Small groups
There is no limit to the number of people who can participate
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Ask & Answer Questions
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Decision Methods
Opinion Survey
Level of Polarization This Method Can Handle
High polarization
Level of Complexity This Method Can Handle
Moderate Complexity


Interviews and Polyphonic Narration

August 10, 2020 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
November 8, 2019 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
November 7, 2019 alexmengozzi

Polyphonic narration is inspired by the life story method of ethnographic investigation. Interviews are collected and a narrative is built by themes, until new aspects emerge. The name was created by Marianella Sclavi of Active Listening.

Problems and Purpose

A survey method, polyphonic narration provides for non-or semi-structured interviews to obtain a picture as representative as possible of the images and perceptions of a community with respect to a question, a territorial context, etc.

Origins and Development

This method is a re-proposal of the ethnographic method of "life stories" adapted to the context and communication of participatory processes, therefore with less research ambitions and greater need for political orientation.

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Participants are recruited through the "snowball" method — that is, starting from institutional figures, who usually coincide with the clients, the method proceeds by asking who else should be interviewed, possibly with positions and points of view from their own.

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

The interviews, usually collected through "snowball" recruitment (asking the interviewees who else should have been interviewed), provide the narrative elements for a multi-part composition of the question / problem under investigation. The polyphonic narrative is an open system and its "representative" force is based on giving voice, as far as possible, to all points of view, even to the most idiosyncratic and to the most "unpleasant" ones [1]. Interviews can be interspersed with public presentations and representativeness checks.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

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Analysis and Lessons Learned

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See Also

PP on composting plants in Rome


[1] Active Listening, For a cleaner and more civil Rome: composting and the art of listening Participatory path undertaken on the proposal of the Department of Environmental Sustainability of Rome Capital and of the Municipalities XIII and XV on behalf of AMA, Sep '18 - Feb 2019 , p. 15, (ril. 5/11/19).

External Links

Link 1. Active Listening, composting in Rome, for-participated/ compostaggio-e-arte-di-ascoltare/ (ril. 7/11/19).