How to do it and why?
The presentation will deal with the benefits and constraints of three technology assessment instruments in view of their applicability and use within the evaluation context. It will be elaborated which preconditions for their application have to be fulfilled, which resources are required and how the results can be used for further analysis and assessment:
Establishing a system model: cognitive mapping Cognitive maps are used to create awareness about hypothetical and actual system structures and to visualize them. For evaluations they can be particularly useful for the identification of hierarchical relations between system elements/factors (which causes what) and to connect the tacit knowledge bases of different stakeholder groups as well as to reveal different perceptions.
Selection of relevant factors/reduction of system complexity: impact matrix Impact matrices are used to quantify dependencies between influencing factors/events within a defined system and to develop system models. Within the framework of an evaluation they can be used to identify and organize (hierarchically) the relevant factors that have an influence on the outcome and/or impact of an intervention.
Interpretation of system models: cross impact analysis Cross impact analyses (CIAs) are particularly useful to analyze conditional dependencies of events (activities, outputs, outcomes) and to estimate the probability of defined system statuses under consideration of dedicated factor constellations (often identified through cognitive mapping and impact matrices). As a tool for evaluations CIAs can be particularly valuable for sustainability assessment.