GAO Releases Update to Technology Assessment Design Book
Friday, February 19, 2021 | Comments

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) updated its Technology Assessment Design Handbook, which offers GAO staff and other interested users tools and approaches to consider when designing technology assessments.

The handbook helps users analyze a technology's effects and make complex issues understandable and useful to policymakers. Updates include recently published relevant literature, recent GAO team experiences, and comments submitted by external experts and the public. The handbook outlines what to think about when designing assessments and determining possible policy options, design and methodology examples, and potential challenges and ways to address them.

The handbook underscores the importance of technology assessment (TA) design, outlines the process of designing TAs, and describes approaches for mitigating select TA design and implementation challenges. While the primary audience of this handbook is GAO staff, other organizations may also find portions of this handbook useful as they consider or conduct TAs. This is an update to the handbook published in December 2019, based on the experiences of GAO teams and a review of relevant literature and comments submitted by external experts and the public between December 2019 and December 2020.

The handbook identifies three general design stages: determining the scope, developing the initial design and implementing the design. The handbook also highlights seven cross-cutting considerations for designing TAs: the iterative nature of TA design, congressional and policymakers' interests, resources, independence, engaging internal and external stakeholders, potential challenges, and communication strategy.

In addition, the handbook provides a high-level process for developing policy options, as a tool for analyzing and articulating a range of possible actions a policymaker could consider that may enhance the benefits or mitigate the challenges of a technology. Steps in developing policy options include, as applicable: determining the potential policy objective; gathering evidence; identifying possible policy options and the relevant dimensions along which to analyze them; analyzing policy options; and presenting the results of the analysis.

Find the handbook here.

Would you like to comment on this story? Find our comments system below.

Post a comment
Name: *
Email: *
Title: *
Comment: *


No Comments Submitted Yet

Be the first by using the form above to submit a comment!

Site Navigation