Environmental Impact Assessment Review
Centre for People, Place and Planet
Edith Cowan University Research Impact Evidence Scheme 2023
There is an enormous and ever-growing body of environmental impact assessment (EIA) research, much of which is grounded in practice or seeks to advance it. In this paper we show how the impact of EIA research on policy and practice might be conceptualised and how to set about evidencing it. A framework is developed through literature review to account for impact in four areas pertaining to instrumental impact, conceptual impact, capacity building and knowledge brokerage and co-production. Methods for implementing the framework include citations within policy documents along with content analysis to determine influence and interviews or surveys with policy makers and practitioners; all subsequently presented as narratives. We provide examples and further discussion of each, drawn from recent analysis of the EIA research of one of the authors. Whilst proving impact of EIA research on policy and practice is challenging, we found the framework to be a useful way for structuring and guiding such an investigation. This approach to understanding the uptake and influence of EIA research on impact assessment practitioners and other stakeholders (i.e., government regulators/policy-makers, consultants, proponents or NGOs) could be applied by many professionals in the field to showcase positive impact on policy and practice locally, nationally and internationally. It may also usefully serve academic EIA researchers applying for new positions or for promotion within universities.
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