Tell Me, Hear Me: A Study on Participant Needs and Dialogue Structure

Master's Thesis


Dialogue processes can be a powerful, life-changing experience for participants. This paper presents an ethnographic study of the South Bend Study Circles on race, which explores how dialogue structure interacts with participant needs and organizational goals. As our nation grapples with racism, spaces for people to develop social awareness, build relationships that break down barriers and prejudices, and heal from the damage of discrimination are welcome. They can provide a breath of fresh air for marginalized people, and deep, honest conversation about the hard topics we avoid as a society. Yet for dialogue to be productive and positive, facilitators need to be trained to welcome disclosure and manage emotions and social injustice. When it comes to highly content-structured dialogues, having multiple levels of dialogue, or support for participant action, could be necessary. Dialogue certainly can lead to group action, but its strengths may lie in fostering learning, community, and healing.


Attribute NameValues
Alternate Title
  • A Study on Participant Needs and Dialogue Structure

Author Dania Straughan
Contributor Catherine Bolten, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Peace Studies
Degree Name Master of Arts
Submission Date 2016-05-13
  • Intergroup Dialogue, Dialogue, Race, Racism, Group Process, Introspection, Disclosure,

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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