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Perspectives to Performance of Environment and Health Assessments and Models—From Outputs to Outcomes?
National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Environmental Health, P.O. Box 95, Kuopio FI-70701, Finland
Nordem Oy, Jynkänmäenkatu 1 D 1, Kuopio 70840, Finland
National Institute for Health and Welfare, Service System Department, P.O. Box 30, Helsinki FI-00271, Finland
Systems Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Newelska 6, Warszawa 01-447, Poland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 April 2013; in revised form: 7 June 2013 / Accepted: 8 June 2013 / Published: 26 June 2013
Abstract: The calls for knowledge-based policy and policy-relevant research invoke a need to evaluate and manage environment and health assessments and models according to their societal outcomes. This review explores how well the existing approaches to assessment and model performance serve this need. The perspectives to assessment and model performance in the scientific literature can be called: (1) quality assurance/control, (2) uncertainty analysis, (3) technical assessment of models, (4) effectiveness and (5) other perspectives, according to what is primarily seen to constitute the goodness of assessments and models. The categorization is not strict and methods, tools and frameworks in different perspectives may overlap. However, altogether it seems that most approaches to assessment and model performance are relatively narrow in their scope. The focus in most approaches is on the outputs and making of assessments and models. Practical application of the outputs and the consequential outcomes are often left unaddressed. It appears that more comprehensive approaches that combine the essential characteristics of different perspectives are needed. This necessitates a better account of the mechanisms of collective knowledge creation and the relations between knowledge and practical action. Some new approaches to assessment, modeling and their evaluation and management span the chain from knowledge creation to societal outcomes, but the complexity of evaluating societal outcomes remains a challenge.
Keywords: assessment; model; evaluation; environment; health; performance; management; quality; uncertainty; effectiveness
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Pohjola, M.V.; Pohjola, P.; Tainio, M.; Tuomisto, J.T. Perspectives to Performance of Environment and Health Assessments and Models—From Outputs to Outcomes? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 2621-2642.
Pohjola MV, Pohjola P, Tainio M, Tuomisto JT. Perspectives to Performance of Environment and Health Assessments and Models—From Outputs to Outcomes? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(7):2621-2642.
Pohjola, Mikko V.; Pohjola, Pasi; Tainio, Marko; Tuomisto, Jouni T. 2013. "Perspectives to Performance of Environment and Health Assessments and Models—From Outputs to Outcomes?" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 7: 2621-2642.