Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions


Work Procedures and Methods

The Norwegian Board of Technology employs a range of different methods in our projects, where these five are considered primary methods: expert groups, consensus conferences, scenario workshops, focus groups and open hearings. These methods are flexible and can be adapted for each individual project.


The NBT expert groups are always broadly constituted. The participants originate from different institutions and areas of learning, and usually vary in their professional association with the given topic. An expert group is used to illuminate a current topic, give advice or provide policy options. The participants are chosen based on their academic expertise or practical experience in the chosen field.

An expert group will usually meet 6–8 times during a project, with 4–12 months typically elapsing between the first and last meetings. A project manager from the NBT will lead the process and do most of the writing and organising. The Board members will be briefed on the work, but the making of conclusions and recommendation in a specific project is normally delegated to the expert group.


A consensus conference is an exercise in practical democracy, and involves those who seldom have a forum where they can be heard. The participants take part by virtue of being socially aware citizens. They should not be experts on the topic under discussion, nor should they have prominent positions in organised interest groups that are affected by the given topic.

Citizens can contribute knowledge and perspectives that experts normally do not bring to the table. We are all non-experts in most areas of life, but we also have experiences and values that we can use to assess new information. The NBT has also used and contributed to the development of other participatory methods such as different citizen panels and citizen summits.


Discussion and the exchange of experiences are the core elements of a scenario workshop. The discussions circle around a set of scenarios that are portraits of alternative futures in a given topic. The scenarios may be presented as a movie, lecture, document or some other form. The purpose of the scenarios is to make the participants conscious of future choices involving technology, and encourage them to make critical assessments. Developing new visions and proposals for action may also be a part of the process.


A focus group is a type of structured group interview. The goal is that conversations conducted in a group of 7 to 10 individuals will bring to light more information than by interviewing participants individually. The participants in a focus group have special knowledge about or experience with a given topic.

The focus group´s topic is limited in scope and determined by the interviewer. It is nonetheless important that the discussions are open enough for the participants to exchange experiences and comment upon each other´s viewpoints. Herein lays a part of this method´s strength: the conversations and interaction within the group can bring to light more information than by interviewing the group members one by one.


During a hearing, individuals or institutions can give input to a work in progress. Hearings may either transpire in public with prepared papers dealing with key questions or recommendations, or in round-table hearings with plenary discussions. The participants are usually either experts in their respective fields, decisions-makers or representatives of affected interest groups who we believe have special knowledge about the topic.

Prior to a hearing, the Board of Technology has usually done some preparatory work on the topic. As a rule, an expert group has elaborated a set of key questions or preliminary recommendations, which the participants at the hearing should comment upon.


Chapter Work Procedures and Methods - all countries

Country Report Norway



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