Policy Assessment: The State of the Art
The special issue of “Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal” on the state of the art of impact assessment contains six papers, covering Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Policy Assessment, Social Impact Assessment, Health Impact Assessment, and Sustainability Assessment. The contributions provide a comprehensive and insightful overview of the current state of these fields of practice, and point to some interesting and challenging directions for the future.
The paper of Camilla Adelle and Sabine Weiland presents the state of the art in policy assessment. It illustrates how the diffusion of policy assessment has led not to one standard ‘correct’ way of conducting policy assessment but to a great deal of diversity in how policy assessment is practised as well as researched and even theorized. Although the ‘textbook’ concept and everyday practices of policy assessment are based on a traditional rational linear concept of policy-making, policy assessment has become the latest arena for post-positivist conceptions of policy-making and assessment to resurface. This paper suggests that the future agenda for both research and practices could – indeed should – attempt to straddle these two theoretical approaches.