The Three Functional Elements of Technology Assessment
This chapter describes each of the functional elements, presenting the techniques have identified from theory or practice that best appear to satisfy those functional needs, and gives examples from past technology assessment (TA) experiences that offer useful insight into the application of specific techniques. Data acquisition, bounding the assessment domain, and projection of technological alternatives constitute the sub-elements of this component of the TA strategy. Data collection techniques for describing the subject technology are different and demanding enough to warrant a separate functional category. The assessment team has a responsibility to insure that the bounding constraints permit logical and feasible projections of the subject technology. A bounding objective is to include only the vital political decision-making jurisdictions applicable to the assessment objectives and to exclude all others. Impact criteria areas can be defined so as to correspond to the various specialized scientific disciplines involved in carrying out the subsequent impact assessment.