LIAISE KIT manual

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What is the LIAISE KIT?

The LIAISE KIT contains descriptions of different types of knowledge which can be used in the context of policy impact assessment. It has been developed in the context of the FP7 LIAISE Network of Excellence. With the LIAISE KIT we aim to provide two different services:

  • A Library of models, methods, impact areas, good practices, experts:  Different sources of knowledge are described and can be queried using keywords from the domain of policy Impact assessment
  • Community Platform to collaborate in the field of Impact Assessment: you are invited to share your knowledge in the field of Impact Assessment for sustainable development: become an expert, a lead editor or upload your publication.

The content of the LIAISE KIT

The LIAISE KIT contains descriptions of different types of knowledge relevant for the Impact Assessment of Policies. Knowledge is described both by text as well as by keywords from the domain of policy making and impact assessment. Thereby, the knowledge is described in the context of IA. By using the same keywords for different types of knowledge, queries return different types of expertise. E.g. searching for an impact area result in experts, models, examples of IA, publications, etc.

Menu items in the LIAISE KIT

The following types of knowledge are described in the LIAISE KIT:

Menu item Knowledge for IA 

Experts

Experts are researchers or consultants who have expertise in the various aspects of Impact Assessment. Their descriptions include examples of work and publications.

Models

Impact Assessment Models are computer programs which entail a mathematical representation of social, economic or natural systems and which develop possible future scenarios as a result of changes to the system. The descriptions of the models include sample applications in Impact Assessment.

The descriptions are partially taken from the IA TOOLS database for which a survey on models was undertaken by Cambridge Econometrics. The findings are included as well as a survey of EEA. In addition to these models, modellers have added their own models to the LIAISE KIT.

IA Methods

Methods are systematic and established steps to acquire knowledge. The LIAISE KIT contains a collection of descriptions of methods which are frequently applied in IA. It includes methods for scoping, quantiatitive and qualitative data collection, methods to compare options, to visualise findings or to facilitate stakeholder participation. For each method, example of good practices as well as software implementations are provided.

The data for this section comes partially from the FP6 project “Sustainability A test”. Other methods  are continually being added by Lead Editors.

Publications or examples

Publications are scientific publications or policy documents which are relevant in the context of the different aspects of impact assessment.Examples of IA are model applications, IA reports, good practices in different IA activites, or samples of work, i.e. projects conducted by experts.

Impact Areas

Impact areas are specific domains and aspects on which a new policy may have an impact, such as biodiversity, administrative burden or employment. Each of the impact areas is related to specific policy areas. The impact areas  can be further specified by indicators. There are studies published, models and methods developed, and information on experts and institutes can be found. The impact areas cover the three dimensions of sustainability, i.e. economic, environmental and social aspects. Descriptions of Impact Areas include references to relevant policies, data sources and web resources.

The description of Impact Areas are derived from the guidelines for Impact Assessment of the European Commission and further enriched by the Lead Editors responsible for the sections

In this section you are invited to upload your own content to the LIAISE KIT. Once you have created an account, you can add 

  • a description of a model you have developed
  • your profile as an expert in Impact Assessment 
  • an example of IA: e.g. a model application, a project or an impact assessment in which you have been involved. 
  • a publication relevant in the context of IA

For each you can choose keywords which describe the respective item best. Thereby, the items will be found in the queries from many different perspectives. 

Menu item Process of IA

Frameworks for IA

This section introduces different procedural approaches to doing IA. These IA frameworks represent broad approaches that help structure the IA process. They may be bound to a specific jurisdiction, institution (such as the IA approach of the OECD), level (e.g. the IA approach of the EU), or policy field.

IA Frameworks define the priorities and the scope of an IA, and they typically break down the assessment into a set of procedural steps. In some cases, they may provide guidance or examples for identifying relevant impact areas and for selecting appropriate analytical methods or indicators.

IA Activities

An Impact Assessment is a process that can be divided into several interrelated steps. The section IA Activities describes the steps and thereby provides a guideline.

The content of this section is based on the Impact Assessment Guidelines of the European Commission.

IA Workspaces

IA workspaces provide groupware functionalities to support the planning and the collaborative writing of an IA. IA workspaces are administrated by an owner, who can invite additional experts and stakeholders. The content is accessible only for invited members. If you want to use this functionality, please send a mail to liaise@zedat.fu-berlin.de 

Who can make use of the LIAISE KIT?

Policy-makers

You are: A policy-maker who wants to conduct (or to let conduct) an Impact Assessment

You may use the LIAISE KIT to look for:

  • Guidance for the planning of an IA
  • Guidance on how to analyse impact areas
  • Models to assess impact on certain impact areas, sectors, countries, etc.
  • Experts which may give assistance with your IA
  • Methods that support the different steps of an IA
  • Practice examples of IA which may serve as an example for your IA

You may also contribute to the LIAISE KIT by:

  • Adding your own examples of IAs
  • utilising the IA workspaces to conduct your own

Researchers

You are: A researcher in the field of Impact Assessment

You may use the LIAISE KIT to look for:

  • Models which may be complementary to your own
  • Experts for joint activities
  • Methods which you want to apply in research
  • Examples of IA cases, publications or projects undertaken by other researchers

You may contribute to the LIAISE KIT by:

  • Adding or updating descriptions of IA methods
  • Adding or updating descriptions of impact areas
  • Adding new IA models, IA examples, publications or projects or new experts
  • Becoming a Lead Editor and take over responsibility for certain sections of the LIAISE KIT
  • Contribute to specific IAs in IA Workspaces

The role of Lead Editors

The LIAISE KIT is designed in a way that updating and integrating new information can be easily done by registered users who can act as editors. In order to coordinate and integrate multiple experts’ inputs we propose the role of Lead Editors.

Lead Editors take over responsibility for the content of a specifically assigned section of the LIAISE KIT - this can be an impact area or a (family of) method(s). Lead editors review the content of their section and add new content (e.g. new findings, indicators, models, publications, policies, applications, etc.). They are also encouraged to approach other experts in their field and invite them for contributions or to become experts in the LIAISE KIT. Lead editors are contributing on a voluntary basis. If you want to become a Lead Editor or a contributor, please contact us: liaise@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Lead Editors thus have important responsibilities, but the position comes with rewards as well:

  • By contributing to the virtual centre of excellence, Lead Editors shape scientific and practical IA expertise in an internationally visible and interdisciplinary IA community;
  • Lead Editors have the opportunity to increase  awareness of their expertise among the diverse IA community and EU and national policy makers and thereby enhance dissemination for their research results; and;
  • By sharing, discussing and collaborating with the IA online community , Lead Editors easily make new contacts with academic and policy partners, access up-to-date IA information, link their research with other expertise and increase the potential for new research ideas.

User roles and rights 

The LIAISE kit has different roles and related rights for users: 

  • Anonymous: not registered visitors can view most sections of the LIAISE kit, except personal data and restricted groups. Editing is not possible 
  • Editor (all registered user become editor): can see all sections including groups for which they are invited. Can add model descriptions, practices, publications and expert profiles. Can edit own content 
  • Lead editor: same as editor + can edit descriptions of methods and imapct areas   
  • News agent: same as editor + adding news items and edit own news items 

Getting started and basic rules

How to: Create an account

For certain functionalities of the LIAISE KIT, you will need to create an account, which is very simple and – of course – free:

In the upper right corner of the screen, there is a button for creating a new account. After providing the information, your registration is forwarded to the LIAISE office. The account will be activated within few hours during office hours. After this, you can log in and create new content. 
Please contact liaise@zedat.fu-berlin.de in case of difficulties in creating a new account.

How to: Setting up an IA workspace

An IA workspace is a section of the LIAISE KIT that is accessible to invited users only. The users can collaboratively write an Impact Assessment or other texts. For setting up an IA workspace, please write an email to liaise@zedat.fu-berlin.de  

How to: Use bookmark and watch functionalities

On every page you find two symbols on the upper right side to bookmark or to watch a page. 

By bookmarking you can select the relevant pages for your purposes. For example, if you are planning an Impact Assessment, you may consider to first visit the IA activities section and bookmark those pages that are of special interest for you. Subsequently, you may visit the impact areas and the methods sections. Once you have planned your IA, you may search for knowledge items, such as publications, previous IAs, models or experts, which ou can also bookmark. You may visit and edit your bookmark list at any time via the "my content" menu.

"Watching": If you are interested in a specific page, e.g. as a lead editor for a specific method or impact area with other lead editors working on the same page, you may select "watch". Once the page has been edited you will receive an email to the address linked to your LIAISE KIT account.   

How to: Improve the user friendliness for online reading

Online reading is different from reading printed texts. It involves more activity of the user and more information is available at one time. Therefore, reading online is more exhausting and takes longer.

Here is some advice to improve the reading friendliness of your content:

Keep it Short!

  • Your content should ideally not exceed 2-4 printed pages
  • Use internal and external links for further references

Keep it structured!

  • Use the provided headings, so a tables of content will automatically be generated (works only with headings 2-6)
  • Structure your text using short paragraphs (about 3-7 lines and one thought per paragraph)
  • Use bullet points as it makes reading easier for the user

Provide Overview!

  • Write a summary of your content (short version) at the beginning of your page, about 150-200 words long
  • Emphasize important information and/or keywords putting them in bold or italics
  • use the table of content (a table of content is automatically generated from headline2 and higher: Once you format text as h2, h3, ... this will be automatically added to a table of content for the page. 

How to: Quote and reference

Texts in this LIAISE KIT should always use parenthetical referencing (or Harvard referencing), meaning that citations are enclosed within parentheses (round brackets) and embedded in the text, either within or after a sentence, as opposed to the footnote style. In the brackets, only the author’s last name and the year of publication and the referring page (if applicable) are mentioned.

Example: (Čuček et al. 2012); (Best et al. 2008, p. 51f)

In order to guarantee a standardized bibliography, please use only the following form for quotations of publication:

Name(s) of the Author(s). Year. Full Title. Source, No. Edition Number (if applicable), pp. pages (if applicable). Available at: URL Link (if applicable)

Please consider the style guides:

Author: "Last Name, Abbr. of First Name."; Do not list more than three authors, add "et. al."  in case of more.

Source: = Name of Journal OR Name and Place of Publishing Company  OR Title of Collected Edition (plus editors), depending on the type of publication

Examples:

Cecot, C., Hahn, R.W., Renda, A. 2007. A statistical analysis of the quality of impact assessment in the European Union”. AEI - Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, Working Paper 07-09.

Granlund, K., Rekolainen, S., Grönroos, J., et.al. 2000. Estimation of the impact of fertilisation rate on nitrate leaching in Finland using a mathematical simulation model. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, No. 80, pp. 1-13.

Ferretti, J., Guske, A.-L., Jacob, K., et al. 2012. Trade and the Environment. Frameworks and Methods for Impact Assessment. FFU-Report 05_2012.
Available at: http://edocs.fu-berlin.de/docs/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDOCS_derivate_000000002110/FFU_report_05_2012_Trade_and_the_Environment.pdf?hosts=

Adding or editing specific content

How to: Edit an IA Method (lead editors only)

  • If a page for your specific method has already been created; you’ll find it under “Process of IA” in the main menu; in order to add or edit content, click the button “edit description”
  • Please, do not forget to click the “SAVE” button at the end of the page, after adding/changing content
  • Each description of a method should follow this structure:

    Short version: In 100-250 words provide an abstract of the methods suitability for IA.

    Extended Version: Section with an extensive description of the method (ideally doesn’t exceed 2-4 printed pages).  This part can include paragraphs, addressing:

  • Definition & Objectives
  • How to apply the method
  • combination with other methods
  • data requirements
  • strengths & weaknesses
  • software implementations
  • publications and practice examples
  • references (see previous bullet point on quoting rules).

--> Keeping the information short, comprehensible, and quotable is key!

  • On the one hand you may write a new description of your method. On the other hand the option is to use the method text that has been developed in the Sustainability A-Test project. In this case the text needs to be adjusted to the LIAISE context and the purpose of the LIAISE KIT.
  • If you review an existing method description, you may add or update

              ° references

              ° web links

              ° software implementations, practice examples, or experts.

  • If you feel an important method is missing, please contact liaise@zedat.fu-berlin.de. Please also make a recommendation how the missing method should be integrated into the given structure.

How to: Add or edit an Impact Area (lead editors only) 

  • A page for your specific Impact Area has already been created; you’ll find it under “Impact Areas”, select the main family of impact areas at the bottom of the page and you will be forwarded to the respective list of impact areas – select ‘your’ impact area. In order to add content, just click the button “edit description”; please, do not forget to click the “SAVE” button at the end of the page, after adding/changing content
  • In the LIAISE KIT page of your Impact Area, a text structure has been set in advance (starting with ‘Guiding Questions’ which provide topic-specific information in a structured way, followed by a number of generic headings for the whole of an impact areas). You can use this structure but as well change it or add new headings.
  • On the one hand you may write a new description of your Impact Area, on the other hand you may also alter existing or add new guiding questions. The existing text that derives from the EU’s IA Guidelines as well as from entries by the LIAISE KIT experts (see for example impact area “Landscape”). Please also check if the descriptive headings (e.g. ‘indicators’) are adequate or should be altered/corrected/completed/up-dated/made more reader-friendly
  • The review process should furthermore include a check of:
    • references (add new ones or delete old ones)
    • web links (add new ones or delete old ones)
    • wording and changing it into a LIAISE context
    • further identification of tools/software, examples of application and experts.
  • If you are or want to become a Lead Editor for Impact Areas, or if you would like to improve its contents, please contact liaise@zedat.fu-berlin.de

How to: Add a model, expert or example of work (all registered users) 

As a registered user, you can add content to the LIAISE KIT. In the menu item "My content / Add your content" you can add: 

  • your expert profile 
  • a model description 
  • a practice of IA (publication, project, model application) 

Please select relevant terms from the taxonomies to describe the respective content. 

Publish the new content by selecting "PUBLISH" at the end of the page, repectively "Save" in case you editing existing content. 

How to: Add a news item (news agents only) 

For all news that are of interest for the community, a news item should be posted. The news item will be published in the blog on the start page and the bottom pages. News items may be considered when 

  • new expert has uploaded his/her profile 
  • new model has been added 
  • new publications or projects was added 
  • new method,or impact area is added 
  • upcoming events or reports from past events

etc. 

All LIAISE KIT user are invited to post news items. However, posting of news require special user rights attributed to your user account (role of "news agent"). If you are interested in the posting of news please contact liaise@zedat.fu-berlin.de

  • from the menu "my content" select add content: article 
  • insert a title and a short announcement. Please, use a link to the LIAISE KIT item you want to promote 
  • Please, start the news item with the date in brackets (day-month-year)
  • You may consider to use the teaser breaker if the text is exceeding a single line. 
  • In the menu 'publishing option' at the bottom, select "published" and "promoted to front page" 

Save

How to: Edit content in the IA workspace (invited users only)

  • Select from "my content" "my groups" the IA workspace you want to work on. 
  • As an administrator you can add new persons from the menu "group" 
  • As a contributor you can select "edit"