The Large Barometer uses a larger number of statements (20–40) – at least as many as there are participants and up to twice as many. It is important that the prepared statements are relevant to the group and that they cover key controversial issues. Examples of statements for the Large Barometer on the topic of violence are given on page 124. 120. The statements should be printed on individual pieces of paper, A5 format for example, in larger letters to aid easy reading.
Pieces of paper with the statements should be arranged so that everyone can come up and see them, for example in a line on the floor or along a larger conference table. Each participant picks up at least one statement (or at most two if you have twice as many statements as participants) and places it on the barometer between the opposite poles of, for example, Violenceand Not violence or Builds peaceand Degrades peace, based on his or her understanding of the statement and opinion on whether it constitutes violence or not. After the statements have been arranged along the barometer, invite the participants to look them over and make a note of those with whose position they agree.
This is followed by a discussion: Would anyone change the position of any of the statements in the barometer? Why? What do others think?
Each statement proposed for discussion is considered in turn for at least 15 minutes or less.
Additional discussion rules:
- You may only explain why you would change the position of a statement on the barometer, but you may not physically move the statement/paper placed by someone else.
- The aim is not to reach group agreement about what position would be ideal for a given statement, but to exchange opinions.
Of course, not all statements can be discussed, only a selection.
As opposed to the classic barometer exercise, the Large Barometer requires active moderation to guide the process and ensure the participants follow the discussion rules.
There is often an interest in extending the work on this exercise through the entire three-hour workshop, but due to the uniformity of the setting, it is recommended that one part of the statements be processed in a slightly different way, such as unprocessed statements of interest and discussed in small groups.