We explain what a discussion board is, the types that exist and what it is for. Also, what are its characteristics, elements and examples.

What is a discussion board?

A discussion panel is a discussion format for the public or in private , in which there is a table or panel of guests whose opinion on a specific and determined matter is desired to be heard. These guests are called panelists.

The panelists speak in turns , in an organized way, around a topic in which they can contribute different perspectives and reasons. They are usually coordinated by a mediator or moderator who generally does not express his opinion or reserves a middle or neutral point.

The public, likewise, generally refrains from participating in the debate , unless they are given an option (usually at the end) of questions or comments.

Discussion panels are frequent in political debates , in the media or in specialized debates , and they can address topics of all kinds: scientific , legal, moral , etc.

Types of discussion board

A specialized discussion panel is made up of professionals in the field.

Discussion panels can be of various types, according to the nature of their panelists:

  • Specialized. The guest panel is made up of professionals specialized in the field, such as scientists, academics, etc.
  • Public. The guest panel is made up of people of diverse backgrounds and characteristics, chosen at random, like the juries of the trials.
  • Mixed. A panel of guests that combines the specialized presence with the popular one.

What is a discussion board for?

A panel discussion discusses different perspectives on a topic.

The discussion panels are friendly, safe, but at the same time formal spaces for addressing issues that may well be controversial and in other ways difficult to address.

In a panel discussion , appropriate voices are brought together for discussion and questions can be asked . Respecting the response time, an attempt is made to expose the matter from points of view that may well be very different or contradictory to each other.

Basic structure of a discussion board

Discussion panels are usually made up of three to five members , with seven being the maximum acceptable for the debate to be operational and not disorganized.

It is estimated that a discussion panel lasts about two hours , in which each panelist has the same amount of time available (between 10 and 15 minutes), to present their perspective as best as possible. To do this, they must avoid diversions and ramblings.

After the presentation phase, a discussion or debate phase begins, in which questions are formulated (by the moderator, the public or the panelists themselves). The exchange of opinions, interruption and reply are allowed , as long as the rules of organized exchange of ideas are respected .

Discussion Board Items

Depending on the discussion panel, the public can participate in the debate.

As we said, every discussion panel is made up of:

  • Panelists. People whose knowledge , perspectives or knowledge make them suitable to address a topic, and who therefore constitute qualified voices to explain, demonstrate or debate it.
  • Moderator or coordinator. A director of the debate whose position on the subject must be neutral or, in any case, must not influence its dynamics. Objectively maintains the rules of the discussion and respecting equal opportunities.
  • Public. All those individuals who witness the debate and who may or may not participate in it at any given time that allows it.

Purpose of the panel discussion

The objective of a discussion panel is a complete, diverse and comprehensive approach to a topic .

Its second objective may be to explain it in greater depth, to reach a more or less reconciliatory or unanimous position, or simply to explore in an informed manner the problems that the subject raises.

Differences with a round table

A round table differs from a discussion panel in that all its participants take part in the debate , regardless of their level of expertise.

It is a debate in which everyone is equal and has the same opportunity to intervene , discussing the different approaches until some kind of consensus can be reached. This is a less structured method of discussion.

Discussion board example

Examples of discussion panels are those that occur in parliaments during the debate on laws , in popular television programs around controversial issues, or in the debate forums that are organized in fairs and specialized events.

Importance of discussion techniques

Debate techniques are, above all, dialogue tools . They allow the opportunity to address issues of a different nature in a civilized and organized manner.

Thanks to them, it is possible to avoid being carried away by the passions that can provoke controversial issues , putting the power of conviction and words before any other form of discrepancy.

These are opportune mechanisms to, in addition, encourage verbal reasoning , the logic of dialogue and therefore tolerance towards positions contrary to one's own.

How to organize a panel discussion?

When organizing a discussion panel, it is important first of all to define the rules that will govern it , and to which the moderator must adhere. The moderator and the invited experts must know these rules, and the times of each stage must be respected, as well as the right to speak of each one.

Each stage of the debate should be led by the moderator only. It is also convenient to prepare the possible questions in advance , spatially design the place of the debate and have all the necessary elements so as not to stop it during its development.

Tips for conducting a panel discussion

Some tips for moderating or coordinating a panel discussion are:

  • He introduces the panelists at the beginning of the event and briefly before his first intervention.
  • Quickly explain what the structure of the discussion will be and when questions will be allowed, etc.
  • Try to coordinate the right to speak and reply to prevent everyone from speaking at the same time.
  • Try to translate into an accessible language the conclusions that an exponent reaches, when you ask him questions.
  • Try to maintain order and respect throughout the debate.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Passionate about understanding and contributing to a world that does not stop changing. New forms of Work, Sustainability and Technology. For many years he has worked as a creative for large international companies. He has a Ph.D. in information technology and he has been doing quantitative research in the interdisciplinary areas of information systems, cyber security, data analytics and artificial intelligence. He continue to look for creative solutions through technology to help companies to be more humane and sustainable..

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