Social assessment provides a process for research, planning, and management of change arising from projects, programs, and policies. Applied both to the design and implementation of changes causing social effects, the process is firmly established internationally as an integral component of environmental assessments and decision making. Application to projects ranges from community-level projects to large infrastructional and industrial ones. Strategic application of social assessment also occurs in the development and implementation of programs and policies.The authors have practiced widely in the field of social assessment and held training courses and workshops on social assessments in many countries, for multi-lateral organizations, public agencies, industry private consultants, academics, and non-government organizations.This text describes social assessment theory, processes, and common techniques, as developed from the authors' international practice and training sessions. It will be of value to students and practitioners with interests and responsibilities in determining and managing social consequences of projects, programs, and policies affecting natural resources and the human environment.
C. Hobson Bryan, Ph.D., is professor, Department of Geography, University of Alabama. He served as program leader for social impact assessment for the U.S. Forest Service, was a Senior Fulbright Research fellow to New Zealand, and is a former President of the International Association for Impact Assessment.