Source: (2006) In, Harrman, Margaret S., editor, Handbook of Mediation: Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice. Blackwell Publishing pp. 129-142

Mediation program designers are faced with a number of decisions in their efforts to structure effective mediation programs. What types of disputes and disputants should be eligible for or referred to mediation? What characteristics should the mediators possess? What approach should the program provide for disputants? What dispute and disputant characteristics should be matched with what mediator characteristics or approach? In brief, phrased in terms of the model presented in chapter 2: what dispute, disputant, and mediator antecedent characteristics and mediation process characteristics contribute to favorable short-term and long-term mediation outcomes? This chapter reviews the available empirical research addressing these key questions in the context of mediation programs that operate within the courts or in their shadow. To explore whether the same or different factors contribute to effective mediation in different mediation settings, I present research findings for several settings: domestic relations, community, small claims, general jurisdiction civil, and appellate civil mediation. By identifying which research findings have been fairly consistent, which present a missed picture and which questions remain unanswered, I hope to provide some answers for program designers as well as to identify issues for future research. (excerpt)