Methodologies are the "recipes" of scientific assessments.
Methodologies guide scientists through the scientific process by providing a step-by-step framework for:
- what to answer – describing the precise nature of the scientific question and what is outside of scope. Scientists often refer to this as the “problem formulation”.
- which evidence to collect and use
- identifying the scientific evidence relevant for an assessment
- if needed, complementing evidence from observations (e.g. studies on animals or cells) with other sources or methods (e.g. expert knowledge)
- evaluating quality of scientific evidence and analysing it in a structured, consistent and traceable way
- document the process for dealing with evidence transparently.
- how to make decisions – providing a transparent, rational and accountable process for scientific decisions so that the process can be repeated by other scientists.
At EFSA we use scientifically accepted methodologies and supporting tools that are commonly used by assessment bodies across the globe. We also develop our own approaches to meet the specific needs of our EU food safety remit.
A comprehensive body of EFSA scientific assessment practices guides and supports our experts in ensuring that EFSA’s opinions and reports respect the highest scientific standards.
Collection, appraisal and analysis of evidence – data, literature and expert judgement – are key steps in scientific assessments.