Public participation and public consultation are generally viewed as desirable approaches to democratize decision-making. But who participates in public consultation events and what motivates individuals to attend? How do we know if the public consultation has been a success? This research program aims to measure the impact of public participation processes through the use of field experiments in the context of groundwater management. We aim to learn about what formats of public engagement can ensure high participation, develop trust, generate consensus, or provide actionable recommendations. This two year research project will begin in September 2017 with funding from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada and the Faculty of Applied Sciences at UBC.