There is no one single way to classify methods. Common distinctions are:
- Quantitative versus qualitative
- Exploratory versus normative
- Predictive versus open
- Reliance on creativity vs reliance on evidence
Important concepts that can be used to characterise methods include:
- The level of participation (large involvement of citizen versus reduced number of experts).
- The degree of reliance on expertise. See also: more on the use of expertise in Foresight
- The degree of interactivity
These characteristics can be combined within a method in various ways so, for example, a scenario method can heavily rely on expertise and use this in a creative and interactive way. On the other hand a Delphi survey could involve thousands of people without being interactive.
The graphic shows a possible grouping of Foresight methods. The shape inside the circle shows how often each method has been used within a set of exercises collected and analysed by the EFMN (European Foresight monitoring Network)