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HOME arrow MANUAL arrow Methods arrow Advanced arrow Barometer of opinions
Barometer of opinions
PeerThink Standard Sheet: Barometer of opinions

Based on RealGeM & GemTrEx, with adaptations referring to Blickhäuser & Bargen1

Name of the Input/ Method/Exercise
Barometer of opinions

It depend how big is the group of participants, but at least 30 minutes.
Target Group/Criteria for Access
Adolescents from the age of 12 years
Enough space to take over a position on a line between e.g., YES and NO or 0% and 100% to express an opinion
Learning Outcomes
  • To get to know, what does Violence mean for different people when topics according to violence are addressed
  • To get to know, which structural forms of violence exist
  • To see differences
  • To accept differences
  • To deal with different perspectives
  • To see differences
  • To accept differences
  • To deal with different perspectives
Method Instruction
The participants are invited to express an opinion regarding to prepared questions or assumptions on a scale between e.g. YES and NO or 0% and 100%. First, the participants place themselves on the scale and after everybody has overtaken a place, second, the moderator asks for a statement.
Step-by-Step Description
1. It is important to bring out that in the barometer it is not the question to say the “right” thing, but more to argue for an own opinion. That is important, because pupils often have a feeling of being examined because of their opinions.
2. After you explain the scale of the barometer like e.g. the opposition of YES and NO or the continuum between 0% and 100%, where each person can take over a position, and also in between.
3. The questions or assumptions should be reconsidered for each group very well. One example: 1. Has everybody in Germany the same possibilities (of social mobility)?  2. Would you call yourself German or not? Would you say it is violence, when someone is listening to music with racist or sexist lyrics?
4. When every person has overtaken a place the moderator ask for the statements. The role of the moderator is to moderate but not to evaluate.
It is important that the others listen to the statements of everybody. By this means, a differentiated discussion can emerge where the pupils often recognise that they don’t know the opinions of the other students and they are surprised about the arguments. If somebody does not want to express themselves, they have the right not to state it verbally.
5. At times the moderator asks if someone wants to change their opinion and therefore, to take a new position in the barometer.
6. When each person made their statement and positions are changed, the moderator finishes the round and goes to the next question/assumption.
7. Upcoming conflicts or interesting questions should be discussed in the ongoing seminar.
Posture-exercise (statues)
There is a bag in the middle of the room, which serves as a symbol for different things: violence, school, town district, racism. The students should use their body and find a position that shows their attitude towards the particular topic, as well as in their bodily expression as concerning their standpoint (close to symbol/far from it). The expressions are not discussed directly but they can be used as material for next steps during the seminar.
Frame Conditions
(Room, Space)
The room should be big enough so that everybody can overtake a position to express their opinion in a line.
  • group size
  • recommendation about point of time or process (e.g.“starter”)
  • Framework/Related Methods
The group should not be smaller than 8 but not bigger than 20 persons. When the number of participants is big, the moderator doesn’t ask everybody, but asks always if each person who has argued, who wanted to state/say something.
The barometer is useful to enter in a theme but also to go deeper into a controversial discussion and to train to argue.
Thus, on the one hand, it is a method to figure out what issues are discussed in a group and what could be a good theme for next steps during the seminar. One the other hand, it is a method to differentiate the discussion, to argue for a meaning, to train the own expression towards several
questions or assumptions.
Possible difficulties
  • group situation
  • point of process
Conflicts can appear thus the group needs a ways to deal with them.
Comments and Experiences/Evaluation
The barometer is useful to differentiate discussions. The first step is not to speak but to think, where do I take place in a room or how to express something in another way like speaking. Variation: posture exercise (statues).
What is intersectional ?
The questions/assumptions can refer to structural categories like social Class (compare the questions of the example). But the participants define what relevance the structural category will have in their answers. Perhaps they stress other differences. Multi-perspectivity is underlined.
The possibility to change their position shows flexibility or the possibility to change the perspective.
respect/Bremen (Germany).


1 Blickhäuser, Angelika / Bargen, Henning von (Hrsg.) (2006): Mehr Qualität durch Gender Kompetenz. Ein Wegweiser für Training und Beratung im Gender Mainstreaming. Königstein/Taunus.

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