Assessment Guidance: Planning

Before beginning an assessment, it is important to develop a comprehensive project plan to ensure the assessment is executed effectively from start to finish.

Begin by answering the following questions to define the scope and focus of your project:

  1. What is the purpose of the assessment? Why is the assessment needed?
  2. What are the key questions/problems you are trying to answer/address? Of these, which have the highest priority?
  3. What will the assessment evaluate?
  4. What is the necessary and relevant context?
    1. Be sure to consider contexts that could influence the assessment framework, including:
      1. Social
      2. Organizational/institutional
      3. Historical (e.g., historical ecology)
  5. Who will be on the assessment team?
    1. Project Manager
    2. Field Crew(s)
    3. Laboratories
    4. Data Managers
    5. QA Leads
    6. Analysts
  6. Who are the key stakeholders? Is stakeholder outreach necessary?
  7. What is the intended use of the assessment?
    1. How will you use the results of the assessment?
    2. Who do you see using the information from the assessment? How will they use it?
  8. What organizational/institutional policies or priorities will the assessment address?


  1. EPA’s Watershed Academy - Watershed Ecological Risk Assessment Module
  2. AB1492 Ecological Performance Measures Methodology

Continue to Development of Goals, Objectives, and Expected Outcomes