Chapter 4 is the first of four chapters that discuss how an EIA is carried out. It covers the early stages of the EIA process. These include setting up a management process for the EIA activity, clarifying whether an EIA is required at all (‘screening’) and agreeing the extent of the EIA (‘scoping’), which may involve consultation between key actors. The early stages of EIA should also include an exploration of possible alternative approaches for a project. Baseline studies, setting out the parameters of the development action (including associated policy positions) and the present and future state of the environment involved, are also discussed. However, the main section in the chapter is devoted to impact identification. This is important in the early stages of the process, but, reflecting the cyclical, interactive nature of the process, some of the impact identification methods discussed in this chapter may also be used in the later stages.