to the City (site)

MSNBC Dialogues

Reality Check (site)

SGD History

 SGD Evaluation
report: Transforming Dialogue (pdf1)
excerpt: RC report (pdf2)
selected responses: RC report (pdf3)
exec summary: RC report
SGD Press Release
Top Ten Lessons

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Small Group Dialogue

Evaluation: Reality Check and American Love Stories

In 1999, the MacArthur Foundation and the Markle Foundation jointly funded studies of Reality Check and American Love Stories, the two most recent incarnations of the SGD technique. We are proud to make available downloadable (PDF) files from the resulting reports.

The first file (229K) Transforming Dialogue (Nov., 2000), is a 54-page report, assessing and comparing the Reality Check and American Love Stories online dialogues, detailing the SGD discussion model, and analyzing participants' experiences:

  • One key statistic is the 51% posting rate among all participants, which includes a 67% rate for the Reality Check dialogues. These figures contrast sharply with the average discussion participation on most web sites by less than 15% of site visitors.†
  • The report also includes a close-up "Portrait of a Dialogue," following the dynamics of one discussion group using several dozen quotes from the lifespan of the group.
  • Over 17,500 messages from more than 2,000 participants provided the raw material for the analysis.

The second file (136k) contains excerpts from the Reality Check evaluation (February, 2000). It includes the executive summary, the introduction, a statistical profile of participants, and the closing section summarizing the impact of Web Lab actions on the dialogues.

The third file (96k) contains selected responses to an open-ended survey of Reality Check participants. A press release announcing the results of the Reality Check evaluation is available, as well as an online version of the executive summary. Finally, we've created a top ten list, highlighting what we learned through the Reality Check report.

The full text of the Reality Check report, including group by group evaluations and over 300 pages of cross-tabluted analysis, is available upon request.


  "Community ROI," a 2001 report by McKinsey & Company and PeopleLink, based on Media Metrix usage figures from 300 million user sessions in Q1 2000, on sites including,,,,,,,, and


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