Guide: WUR Dialogue Navigator

A hands-on guide for academia to explore why, when and how to engage in dialogue for more impact in society.
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Aug 13, 2021

The online Dialogue Navigator is developed by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to help academic researchers explore the potential of dialogue for their work. It shows which purposes conversations can serve, gives insight into the differences between dialogue and debate, and offers hands-on tools and insightful working principles to organise or participate in effective dialogue.

The need for dialogue

Today’s society faces major global issues in the areas of health, energy, food and sustainability. Complex challenges on which opinions and interests differ widely and which require complementary knowledge from different fields. To find answers to resolve these challenges, we need dialogue.

“Don’t ignore issues people raise.” — Jeanne Nel, senior researcher sustainable development at WUR

Bringing together cross-cutting evidence and contrasting viewpoints results in a more complete picture. Interaction invites different stakeholders to build upon each other’s expertise and often leads to mutual understanding and new insights and knowledge. Knowledge that no single expert could have developed on their own. By searching for answers together, science increases its impact and is better able to meet society’s needs.

Navigator content

The Dialogue Navigator encourages researchers to explore the potential of dialogue to increase the impact of science. It considers dialogue a skill that can be learned and developed. It values dialogue as an ongoing process of sensemaking and offers a variety of methods and tools for every stage of the process.

The Navigator covers the following topics:

  • Conversation purposes – to help clarify your intention to engage in dialogue
  • Conversation types – about the differences between dialogue, deliberation, debate and discussion
  • Conversation tools – a selection of methods and tools for different purposes
  • Building blocks – general working principles that underpin effective interactions among scientists and between scientists and societal stakeholders.


    The Dialogue Navigator is an initiative of the Wageningen Dialogues programme, led by Simone Ritzer.

    The Navigator is written by Nina de Roo and Janita Sanderse from WUR and Petra de Boer from Perspectivity.

    More information?