Assessment comprises the analysis and review of information derived from research for the purpose of helping someone in a position of responsibility to evaluate possible actions, or think about a problem. Assessment means assembling, summarizing, organizing, interpreting, and possibly reconciling pieces of existing knowledge, and communicating them so that they are relevant and helpful to an intelligent but inexpert decision-maker (Parson, E. A., 1995). Integrated assessment and environmental policy making: in pursuit of usefulness. Energy Policy, 23(4), 463–475).

In the TranSTEP approach, assessment includes a broad range of approaches, including ethical assessment, foresight, economic assessment, impact assessment, risk assessment and parliamentary technology assessment (TA). This means that assessment does not only refer to individual or groups of experts summarising research in the area, but also more participatory forms of assessments where a broader range of stakeholders or the public participate in assessing value based or political aspects of technologies (see ‘deliberative events’ below).

Deliberative events:

In TranSTEP deliberative events are included as possible methodological options for creating a basis for concluding in the TranSTEP group. This means that the group may decide that a citizen’s jury or a consensus conference (or any other format of deliberative events) is necessary for doing an integrated assessment of the issue at hand.


The TranSTEP group consists of representatives from different assessment traditions (besides policy makers and other stakeholders). These traditions may be called ‘advisory domains’ or ‘assessment domains’ and are well-known interfaces between science, society and policy with some degree of tradition, some common forms of practice and some degree of establishment within public decision-making systems. Examples may be ethical assessment, foresight, economic assessment, impact assessment, technology assessment (TA) and risk assessment. Including representatives from the advisory domains is important because they are assessment professionals that bring in knowledge of existing assessments, as well as their often significant personal experience with assessment. Moreover, they can bring experiences from the TranSTEP dialogues back to their home assessment communities.


Integrated assessment:

TranSTEP builds on the EST-Frame project studying integration in assessment. In the EST-Frame studies it became apparent that ‘integration’ is used in numerous ways and is therefore a concept that is likely to create more confusion than clarification. The term ‘integration’ is therefore not prominent in TranSTEP. However, integration takes place by integrating participants and perspectives, and integrating lessons from existing (and new) assessments.


TranSTEP produces an ‘integrated assessment’ by reviewing (and potentially commissioning) more specific assessments. In order to distinguish between the assessments functioning as an evidence base in TranSTEP and the integrated assessment produced by TranSTEP we may call the TranSTEP assessment a ‘meta-assessment’.