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Should "Pyrkilo" be renamed?

Prolem: The working name "Pyrkilo" is known to have several disadvantages:

  • non-descriptive for an English speaker (reveals very little even for a person who knows Finnish)
  • difficult to pronounce for an English speaker
  • for Finnish speakers, the word Pyrkilo (without dots on the "o")
    • resembles a curse word
    • violates the vowel rules of Finnish.

Therefore, a new name/abbreviation would be desirable. It should meet the following criteria:

  • easy to remember
  • easy to pronounce (in English & Finnish)
  • original (not easily confused with other terms)
  • descriptive of the concept (see below)
  • preferably, carrying favorable associations

It might be fruitful to launch the term soon (e.g. Kuopio Workshop Feb 2008), but the term should be mature, well-accepted, and pre-tested sufficiently - to stand a long lifetime.

What are the key features that the new name should convey?

  • openness of participation
  • (information) structure
  • assessment of impacts/risks

Some (playful or not) suggestions to replace the word "Pyrkilo"

"Structure Enabling Open Impact Assessment" = StrEnOpIA

  • associations:
+ strength & -opia (vision)
+ strenuous
+/- utopia... (cf. "pyrkiä" - to strive at)
  • further advantages:
    • general (not limited to health effects)
    • "impact assessment" (IA) may be a more appropriate term than "risk assessment" (RA):
      • "IA" encompasses the assessment of policy impacts, whereas "RA" emphasizes the quantitation of the baseline effects only
        • the selection and implementation of appropriate policies is the ultimate goal of any assessment (and sometimes the only one, if baseline risks are already known, but policy impacts must still be evaluated)
      • considering that laymen will be involved in the assessment, "impact" is a more unambiguous term than "risk"
        • "RA" may be interpreted (by laymen) as the question "whether or not" there are adverse effects, while the starting point of "IA" is that there are adverse effects, which thus need to be quantitated

"Enabling Structure for Open Impact Assessment" = EnStrOpIA

  • associations:
+/- entropia

"Information Structure for Open Impact Assessment" = InStrOpIA

  • associations:
+ instrument
+ instruction

Please feel free to contribute more suggestions!

Theses about the Intarese method

Under this title, we attempt to make conclusions about what the Intarese method is, what it is not, and on what issues there is still dispute.

What are the critical things in the Intarese method and toolbox that we should agree on?

  1. The target customers of the toolbox are people with three key properties: a) they are motivated in analysing impacts of new policy options, b) they have basic understanding of the issues, and c) they do NOT have insitutional resources to use existing tools or run heavy models. A student in environmental and health sciences is a typical example of our customer.
  2. The toolbox strictly reflects the requirements of the method, i.e. guides the user through the process of making an assessment in a way that the contents of the products are according to the method.
  3. The purpose of a risk assessment is to describe reality.
  4. The purpose of a risk assessment is also to serve a specific information need, which must be clearly stated.
  5. The structure of a risk assessment is a causal diagram.
  6. The elements of the causal diagram are variables that describe reality, are in principle measurable (or falsifiable), and are independent of their context given their scopes (the research question a variable attempts to answer).
  7. The method allows for participation by people who are not under the command of the moderator.
  8. The results of the variables are described as subjective probabilities.
    1. The method contains an explicit guidance on how to derive descriptions of reality based on some pieces of data.
  9. Formal argumentation is used to deal with disputes along the process of making an assessment.
  10. Value judgements are an explicit part of a risk assessment. They are also strucured as variables, but a clear distinction is made between value judgements and scientific (i.e., falsifiable) variables.

Discussion on thesis #1

Erik: This might be good for student education.
Jouni: And the students of today will be the risk assessors in ten years.
Rainer: The risk assessors nowadays do not use the state-of-the-art methods and tools. I thought we should provide them such tools, not something simple student tools.
Colin Humphris:
? Does this tool help Reach?
Jouni: It might, because the customers in Reach are much like students: they have motivation, they have skills but they do not have ready-made tools.
David: This is a timely issue and should be discussed soon. I see possibilities in here.
Jouni: We have very had time if we try to compete about the souls of existing risk assessors who already have tools they know. Our tools should be really fancy to be perceived better than something the customers are already using.
Alena: If we had resources, we should put lots of different things out for free to see which things start to be used.

What is the essence of the Intarese method?

Comment: What is the essence of the Intarese method? If all the detailed methods mentioned below have been used, have we used the method? What parts can be left out before it is no longer the Intarese method?

⇤--1: . Interesting point, althouigh more related to SP1 than to the toolbox. At this point of the project, "the Intarese method" does not exist yet. We can only work with the fragments that have already been developed and that might become part of the method --Anne Knol 17:03, 6 August 2007 (EEST) (type: truth; paradigms: science: attack)

⇤--2: . I would say that that a suggestion of the Intarese method is gradually piling up on Help:Intarese method. I don't think most people agree on everything that is said there, but we can use it as a start of discussion. Hopefully it organises the discussion. --Jouni 17:48, 14 August 2007 (EEST) (type: truth; paradigms: science: attack)

Where should Intarese method pages go?

How to read discussions

Fact discussion: .
Opening statement: Intarese method pages should be in the Help namespace.

Closing statement: Resolution not yet found.

(A closing statement, when resolved, should be updated to the main page.)

←--1: . Intarese method pages are written for endusers who contribute to the assessments. Therefore, from their point of view, they should be in the Help pages. They should not be in the main namespace, because they are not just articles about methods, they are the essential pages for using the website. They should not be in the Intarese namespace, because there things should relate to WP activities and similar things that are done using Intarese funding. --Jouni 01:04, 6 August 2007 (EEST) (type: truth; paradigms: science: defence)

Intarese theory and Intarese method

The methodological developments in Intarese so far can be considered as primarily belonging to either one of the following categories:

  • Creating (a new kind of) a general description of risk assessment as a discipline, or in other words (a new kind of) a theory about risk assessment
  • Developing (new or commonly accepted) methods for the use of risk assessment

Whereas the previous can be characterized as developing or creating the context for Intarese and Intarese method, the latter can be considerd as development of the method itself (that naturally is intended to be applicable within that context). I suggest the chunks of information within the current method descriptions etc. to be separated and newly organized within these two categories, namely e.g. Intarese theory and Intarese method. The method should of course be inherently tied to the theory and thus be an operationalization of the theory. In practice the main difference between these two categories is that the theory describes general risk assessment related issues, whereas the method describes how the theoretical issues can be taken into account in a particular risk assessment. An example of this could be e.g. General properties of good risk assessments, where the content generally describes the relation of risk assessment to its societal context (theory) and explains the general properties of good risk assessment (theory), but also suggests how the general properties can be used as performance criteria in evaluating or designing a particular risk assessment (method).

Furthermore I suggest that the specific parts of the Intarese method (sub-methods?) as well as the Intarese theory are structured according to the following categories (headings?) according to the functions that they relate to:

  1. Assessment product (or output, description)
    • Theory or methods related to defining assessment content - what is (to be) described in an assessment?
    • Theory or methods related to defining product structure - how is it (to be) described?
  2. Assessment process
    • Theory or methods related to collection of information - how to find or create needed information to be included in an assessment?
    • Theory or methods related to manipulation of information - how to make use of the abovementioned information within an assessment?
    • Theory or methods related to managing the collection and manipulation of information - how to carry out an assessment?

This structure should also be reflected upon in the Intarese method help pages as well as further work in Intarese theory and method development. --Mikko 15:58, 8 August 2007 (EEST)

Structure of Intarese theory and method

In order to improve the suggestion presented above and to take it a bit further, I suggest the following structure to be used for describing the Intarese theory and method:

  • Use process (of the information created in RA)
  • Assessment product (that contains the information)
  • Assessment process (that creates the assessment product)

The theory describes these parts (and their sub-parts) and their interrelations on a general level. The method provides the guidance how these are dealt with in a specific case. All these parts can be chopped into smaller pieces and described (and reasoned) on a general level (theory) as well as on a specific level (methods). Altogether they compose the complete theory of RA and the methods to apply it. Of course the use process partly is beyond the scope of RA (on the side of risk management), but it must also be addressed in RA, because RA is an activity that takes place in the interface between science and policy, and it is after all the use process that defines the requirements for the assessment product and thus also the assessment process.

In addition to the three parts of RA described above (namely assessment process, assessment product & use process) the facilitation of Intarese method, i.e. the toolbox, can be considered as a separate issue.

After some preliminary screening, I would say that everything that has been produced so far in Intarese method development can be fitted within this structure with relative ease. I also presume that doing this fitting would help us identify the possible gaps and inconsistencies within the current developments, but also to get a better hold of the essence of the theory and method that we are to be developing here.

--Mikko 16:11, 14 August 2007 (EEST)