Abstract:Mediation program designers are faced with a number of decisions in their efforts to structure effective mediation programs that contribute to favorable short-term and long-term mediation outcomes. What types of disputes and disputants should be eligible for or referred to mediation? What characteristics should the mediators possess? What approach should the mediators use during mediation? What type of mediation process should the program provide? What dispute and disputant characteristics should be matched with what mediator characteristics or approach? 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. We present research findings for several mediation settings, including domestic relations, community, small claims, general jurisdiction civil, and appellate civil mediation, in order to explore the similarities and differences across these settings in the factors that contribute to effective mediation. We identify which research findings have been fairly consistent, which present a mixed picture, and which questions remain unanswered. The chapter concludes with a discussion of future research needed to provide program designers with additional information useful for structuring more effective mediation programs.