Futures Quality and Competency
Until today, Futures Studies are ill-defined, both as a field or discipline, and even more so as regards the question how the quality of good futures research can be assessed. What is the goal of Futures Studies? What are the hallmarks of a rigorous investigation of the future – one that fulfills scientific standards, does justice to its subject matter, and effectively supports decision-making? While there are no succint or generally applicable answers to these questions, we would like to address the need to place futures studies on firmer scientific footing by using uniform and recognized standards for best practice in futures studies. The standards we would like to present and discuss have been formulated as guidelines for futures researchers, but they may also serve as criteria for third parties wishing to evaluate particular foresight projects. The suggested standards have already been published in German, but only recently have been translated into English language. In the session we would like to discuss the general approach of using standards as a means to orient futures research activities and to assess the quality of their results. We would also like to present individual standards and illustrate their relevance by outlining related guidelines as well as typical pitfalls. In the session we would present the newly published anthology on standards of futures studies. However, the session is not meant as the end of a discussion, but as an invitation for further collaboration on that matter.