Toward the Next Generation of Assessment

Katharine J. Mach, Christopher B. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Through integrative assessment, experts evaluate the state of knowledge on complex problems relevant to societies. In this review, we take stock of recent advances and challenges, rooting our analysis in climate change assessment. In particular, we consider four priorities in assessment: (a) integrating diverse evidence including quantitative and qualitative results and understanding, (b) applying rigorous expert judgment to evidence and its uncertainties, (c) exploring widely ranging futures and their connections to ongoing choices and actions, and (d) incorporating interactions among experts and decision makers in assessment processes. Across these assessment priorities, we survey past experiences, current practices, and possibilities for future experimentation, innovation, and learning. In our current era of climate and broader global change, integrative assessment can bolster decisions about contested and uncertain futures. We consider both opportunities and pitfalls in synthesizing and encompassing evidence and perspectives. Our aim is to advance transparent assessment for a sustainable future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-597
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
StatePublished - Oct 17 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Decision making
  • Deep uncertainty
  • Expert judgment
  • Risk
  • Scenarios

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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