Just as environmental reports are assembled under a framework generically called "environmental assessment," so is archaeological research conducted within a particular framework.

The framework for these studies is sometimes called an "archaeological resource assessment" (ARA) process46 or an "archaeological resource impact assessment" (ARIA) process.47 According to one expert report,48 the professional way to characterize work is as follows.

Four basic types of archaeological resource impact assessment and management studies are recognized: overview, impact assessment, mitigation, and surveillance/monitoring. Any one study may be required for a project; in the case of large or long-lived projects, all four studies may be undertaken sequentially.

An overview study should identify and assess archaeological resource potential within a study area, provide a comprehensive description of known archaeological resources in the area, and provide recommendations concerning the need for and types of further detailed studies.

An impact assessment study should identify and evaluate archaeological resources within a specified project area, identify and assess all impacts on archaeological resources imposed by the project and recommend viable options and programs for managing unavoidable adverse impacts.

A mitigation study involves the implementation of approved measures for reducing or avoiding adverse impacts before they occur. Analysis and interpretation are required whenever archaeological data are salvaged.

Surveillance or monitoring studies are conducted during project implementation to identify and control adverse impacts which could not reasonably have been predicted earlier. All archaeological impact assessment and management studies must be carried out under a subsisting permit or ministerial order.... A formal application for a permit or ministerial order must be submitted to the administrating advance of undertaking a heritage study; 2 to 6 weeks is normally required for review and permit issuance. Each province has established reporting format and content requirements for various types and phases of heritage resource impact studies.