Compared to dialogue (aspiring primarily towards understanding) and debate (aspiring primarily towards persuasion), deliberation is a form of exchange aimed at solving a problem or reaching an agreement about something. In other words, the focus of deliberation is more explicitly right action or policy.    

Perhaps the most meaningful difference is what conversations are designed are set up in a way that ensures healthy or quality deliberation. For instance, Kadlec and Friedman (2007) emphasize “careful control and design” of the conversation setting—ensuring, for instance, that “no single entity with a stake in the substantive outcome of the deliberation should be the main designer or guarantor of the process” (p. 7).