Piloting in assessment design
- The text on this page is taken from an equivalent page of the IEHIAS-project.
Even if screening suggests that a full assessment might be useful, this does not mean that one is possible, because the necessary knowledge or other resources may not be available to enable a meaningful assessment to be done. The purpose of piloting is thus to determine whether a full assessment is practicable, if it better to do it now or wait until better information becomes available, and - if an assessment can be done - to identify the data sources that can be used and the methods that can be applied.
This generally implies three main tasks:
Sourcing and evaluating the available data that might be needed as inputs to the assessment (e.g. on sources, releases, environmental concentrations, population distributions and activity, background health status, exposure-response functions, severity weights); Sourcing, evaluating and, where necessary, validating the models and other analytical methods required for the assessment; Identifying (and estimating the magnitude of) the potential uncertainties involved in linkage of these various methods and data. This process is inevitably somewhat exploratory, for until the assessment protocol is finalised uncertainties exist about the actual data and methods that might be used. Likewise, it may reveal problems with the original specification of the issue or the indicators selected for assessment, necessitating some reiteration of the issue-framing stage.
The result, however, should be a clear decision on whether a full assessment is feasible and, if so, a set of recommendations and precepts for use in developing the protocol. If the decision is that an assessment is not feasible, than evidence needs to be collated and presented to justify this conclusion.