Factors to be taken into account

Online Foresight Guide

There is a variety of methods that can be used in Foresight, each producing different results. How can you choose which method, or methods to use?

The precise choice of the appropriate combination of methods will always be a matter of judgment based on the particular context and nature of the issue being examined. This guide enumerates some of the points relevant to the decision-making process. However, in most cases it is highly recommendable to exchange views with experienced Foresight practitioners. In particular, when you have decided to focus on a particular method you should try to find out who else used it, get in touch with them and consult them about their experience.

Does the method meet my objectives?

When deciding on the methods to be used at a certain point in your exercise you will usually start from the objectives of each phase and the outcomes you expect. You will probably consider a range of methods that might be able to fulfil this particular function (as outlined in "Assigning sets of methods to functions") by carefully looking on the description of various methods as they are described in the table of methods in this guide e.g. in the "Is it for me?" section of the description. From that you will have to determine which method is best suited to achieve your targeted outcomes (formal and informal!).

Important criteria to be considered when deciding whether a method is suitable for your exercise are the Level of participation on the one hand and the degree of expertise you need to achieve your objectives on the other. You should keep in mind that this is not naturally the same for each step of the exercise. A largely participatory exercise is indeed not necessarily participatory at each phase. It might well be that only a few experts are taking part in a specific phase while large-scale participation is envisaged in other steps. (See also: The use of expertise in Foresight).

Can I carry out this method?

Although the suitability of a method to the task should always be the primary selection criterion, in practice it will never be the only one. There are a number of practical considerations to be taken into account when actually choosing the methods you will be using such as:

More information:

  • You can find specific information about drawbacks and advantages of each method in the table of methods within this guide.
  • You can find considerations on how to assign methods to different functions within the exercise such as Diagnosis, Prognosis and Prescription under: Assigning sets of methods to functions
  • You can download an interactive presentation to help you decide which method is best suited to your case. [powerpoint ˜ 75kb


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