Description of main methods

Online Foresight Guide

Foresight studies rely on a wide variety of methods. Some of these methods can be applied in different ways (i.e. they have variants). Choosing and applying the right method for a specific exercise is a crucial step in any Foresight process. It is important to emphasise that no one method is a panacea. Each method is best suited to certain specific objectives, context, resources, culture and the mindset of the team and participants, and will prove inadequate if these conditions are not met.

The clickable table below gives detailed descriptions the individual methods, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages, and describing the steps they involve.

Related aspects

How to read the table

The table below assigns various characteristics to a number of methods used within Foresight. A cross (x) indicates that the feature concerned applies to the method to a certain extent, two crosses indicate that the features is a dominant feature of this method.

How to use the table

Clicking on a method within the first column will lead you to a detailed description of the respective method including a step by step guide on how to implement the method and a "Is it for me"checklist.

Methods & Tools
    Prognosis   Quantitative   Normative   Predictive  
Environmental Scanning & Monitoring XX     X X        
System Dynamics XX     X X   X X  
Structural Analysis (e.g. MICMAC) XX     X X   X X  
Agent Modelling (e.g. MACTOR) XX       X   X X  
SWOT Analysis XX X     X   X X  
Trend Intra & Extrapolation X XX   X X   X X  
Modelling & Simulation X XX   X     X X  
Gaming X XX     X   X   X
Creativity Methods (Brainstorming, Mindmapping…) X XX X   X X X   X
Expert Panels   XX X   X X X   X
Delphi survey X X X X X X XX X  
Backcasting   X XX X X X   X  
S&T Roadmapping   X X   X XX X X  
Critical & Key Technology Study X X XX X X X   X  
Scenario Building   XX     X X X   X
Morphological Analysis & Relevance Trees   XX X   X X     X
Cross-Impact Analysis (e.g. SMIC)   XX   X X   X   X
Multi-Criteria Analysis (e.g. MULTIPOL)     XX X X X   X  

Adapted from Futures Research Methodology

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