IA is a participatory process, involving social scientists, analysts
and model builders, and takes into account that models have to
be developed with the participation of those they involve.
and strengths of IA
is an investigation of complex processes and aims to produce a
coherent study of them. It takes account of the complexity of
society, and aims to improve decision making.
models are computer simulation models that describe the cause-effect
relations of a specific problem and the inter-linkages with other
problems. They are complex models that many processes, and many
interactions and feedbacks between.
strengths of IA include the exploration of these feedbacks and
of critical uncertainties that are possible. They also have flexible
and rapid tools available.
integration of social, economic, and environmental processes complicated
as it involves differences across time, space and the dynamics
of each. Furthermore, there is no existing theory as to how this
might be achieved. This means that IA is very practical, in attempting
to combine these different paradigms.
have to be interlinked and merged, and this is carried out problem
by problem. This means that simplification is required, and that
integration of these different models is required rather than
just linking them, and that aggregation is key.
weaknesses associated with this approach have been outlined as
including a high abstraction level, that there is an inadequate
treatment of uncertainties. Furthermore, IA models have been criticised
for the limited validation the include.
include analytical methods, which have a natural science basis,
such as models, scenarios, and risk analysis. Other methods used
have a social science basis.
model building includes a comparison of other models. For example,
the issue of climate change now has approximately 65 IA models,
of which there are two main types. The first of these are models
that are economically orientated, such as DICE. These are parameterised,
based around neo classical ideas of equilibrium and optimism,
and have been poorly received by those working in the environmental
field. The other type of models are environment orientated, which
are complex and process based, and include evaluation, but have
been seen as under representing economics. Examples of such models
include IMAGE and TARGETS.
method of IA is to develop scenarios. These are hypothetical but
dynamic, and make links between states, driving forces, consequences
and actions. They are not images or predictions of the future,
scenarios that have been carried our across Europe have considered
various factors such as social, economic, environmental and institutional.
However, there are no scenarios available that that discuss sustainable
development in Europe in a balanced and integrated manner.
aim of these models is to simulate human behaviour through agent
rules. The calculation procedure involves a set of hypothetical
variables, and gathering information from actual sites. The importance
placed on uncertainties varies according to the perspective adopted,
either Individualist, Hierachist, or Egalitarian.
methods that have been used have been proved to be unsuccessful.
With the RAP system, actors have perfect knowledge and behave
in a certain way. This system is used by almost all models, even
though it is clearly deficient. It is used by economists and decision
makers. For example, the recent policy in Holland relating to
cars and toll charges was based on RAP, but will not work. Instead,
with IA, the aim is to create a conceptual model of individual
of the key elements of IA is that it is a participatory process.
Participatory methods is an umbrella terms for the approaches
of assessment in which non-scientists are involved. They are used
to map out the diversity of an issue, and include policy recommendations.
For example, such methods include interviews, focus groups, scenario
workshops. The aim in all of these methods is discussion to develop
scenarios. The choice of method will depend on the goal of the
participation, time available and budget.
is concerned with identifying and analysing as many aspects as
possible of a water related problem, and the connections between
simulation model takes into account characteristics of water: