The Tools of Policy Formulation

The Tools of Policy Formulation

Actors, Capacities, Venues and Effects

New Horizons in Public Policy series

Edited by Andrew J. Jordan and John R. Turnpenny

A PDF version of this book is available for free in open access via the Elgaronline platform - Policy analysts are accustomed to thinking in terms of tools and instruments. Yet an authoritative examination of the tools which have been developed to formulate new policies is missing. This book is the first of its kind to distinguish the defining characteristics of the main policy formulation tools, and offer a fresh way of understanding how, why and by whom they are selected, as well as the effects they produce in practice.

Chapter 2: Participatory assessment: tools for empowering, learning and legitimating?

Matthijs Hisschemöller and Eefje Cuppen

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public administration and management, public policy


Since the 1960s, a large number of participatory assessment tools and methods have been developed for use in a wide variety of policy venues and fields. There are many opinions on what participatory tools are about. As will be explained, these relate in large part to ongoing debates about the goals of participation. Hence, there is no shared authoritative definition of participatory tools and this chapter has no intention of developing one. Rather pragmatically, it distinguishes between participatory methods, which refer to procedures, and participatory tools, which relate to steps in a procedure. Just as an authoritative definition of participatory assessment tools and methods is lacking, so too is consensus over the outcome they aim at. What they have in common and what makes them distinct from other (social) science methods and tools is that they assist in bringing people together at a specific location (which could include the Internet) and facilitate some sort of joint assessment (Hisschemöller 2005). Hence, the distinctive features of participatory methods and tools are that they facilitate dialogue as a way to come to grips with complex (unstructured) decision problems that cannot be addressed by scientific expertise alone.