Scoping the assessment
- The text on this page is taken from an equivalent page of the IEHIAS-project.
The ‘question’ which motivates any assessment is in most cases rather general. In order to decide on exactly what will be assessed, and how, it has to be fleshed out in much more detail. This process is known as scoping, and involves specifying as precisely as possible all the main elements of the issue, and the connections between them, in a clear and consistent manner.
This is usually best done by constructing some form of pictorial model of the system of interest. Various tools can be used for this purpose (see link to Building a conceptual model). Ideally, it should also be done in consultation with stakeholders, in order to ensure that their interests are taken into account.
The various stakeholders (and even scientists) involved in this process are likely to have different perceptions of what the issue is, and want to express the relationships involved in different ways. It is therefore important to base scoping on a clear and agreed underpinning framework. Most issues are probably best structured on the basis of the ‘causal chain’, but other frameworks do exist (see link to left), and these might be more appropriate for some issues (e.g. non-pollution hazards) and for some stakeholders.