Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Why is “Naming and Framing” So Important?

For people to get involved in public problems or issues that may be contentious, they need to believe the problem or issue is deeply important to them, their families, and their community. They must connect to the issue and find a way to work collectively to solve the public problem or issue. As the Kettering Foundation (2011) has found “ who gets to name a problem — and how they name it — are critical factors that go a long way in de termining how effective the response will be.” Thus, public engagement in naming and framing is vital. It cannot be left to “experts.” Local context and words are needed to convince members of the community to participate in a forum addressing a local issue. For our forums in 2018- 2019 and in 2021, we involved knowledgeable planning committee members “in tune” with those affected by issues. We also engaged others through key informant interviews and focus groups. Appendices 10 and 11 provide the questions used. The differences and similarities are shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 – Naming and Framing Issues: Differences and Similarities

From: Braun, B., Pippidis, M., Ketterman, J., Wolinski, L., & Volk, J. (2021, July 12). Engaging Strategically to Build Farm and Farm Family Resilience -Engaging Your Community to Strengthen Farm and Farm Family Risk and Resilience. Extension Foundation NTAE Professional Development Workshop. Engaging Strategically to Build Farm and Farm Family Resilience

To assist you in naming and framing your issue we have provided you with “Too l 1: Situation Analysis and Naming and Framing Worksheet” in the tools section of this how-to guide.


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