Insights and future directions for systems and complexity-informed evaluationMat Walton,Emily F. Gates,Pablo VidueiraFirst published: 01 September 2021Insights and future directions for systems and complexity‐informed evaluation – Walton – 2021 – New Directions for Evaluation – Wiley Online Library
Insights and future directions for systems and complexity-informed evaluation
First published: 01 September 2021
With the increasing maturity of systems thinking and complexity science (STCS) within evaluation, this issue of NDE provides case examples of contemporary application. This article identifies themes across case examples to identify emergent patterns and opportunities for the continued development of evaluation practices that draw upon STCS. Each article describes STCS and its applications within specific evaluation contexts. Our review across cases identified three themes: (1) the importance of setting boundaries around what is included and excluded from within the STCS field in a specific evaluation; (2) using STCS concepts and theories to enhance program and evaluation theory, and (3) broadly drawing upon STCS to support changes in systems and develop capacity within organizations. While these implications show some promise for systems and complexity informed evaluation, they, more importantly, underscore the need for deeper engagement with STCS theories and methods while simultaneously remaining accessible for evaluators.