It is clear that 'constitutional dialogue' often serves as a convenient metaphor, but how can we employ it in such a way that it advances contemporary research in public law? This article presents a structured literature review on the subject, draws out certain possible caveats and provides suggestions for how to forge ahead with developing and using the concept of 'constitutional dialogue'. We explore various theoretical approaches to 'constitutional dialogue' in relation to different institutional settings. The concept of constitutional dialogue can be applied in institutional settings beyond courts and legislatures and is increasingly being applied in such a way. As part of our exploration of the implications for legal research we propose distinguishing between the use of 'constitutional dialogue' as a 'lens' and as a 'method' and making a clear choice between empirical and normative analysis.